StevenKotler (blog of the NY Times best-selling author)
Ramblings (blog of hiker Mark Truman)
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The Monday Muse
A kind fellow recently wrote and asked for some advice. He wants to create a manuscript but he doesn't seem to have the time to work on it. Between career and family obligations, how is he supposed to write? Does one have to be independently wealthy and/or a complete loner in order to write on a daily basis? How does one carve out the time?
The answer is simple. You just do it. I know, that's almost the Nike slogan, but the sentiment applies. You just do it. Seriously.
I homeschool my kids, which means most of my daytime hours are spent working with them or taking them from one place to another (playdates, extracurricular activities, etc.). During my spare daytime moments, I keep up with emails and social media connections. By the time our entire day is over and we're home and fed for the evening, it's close to 9pm. This is when I settle down and write. I'm often up until 1 or 2am, and I rarely get more than six hours of sleep.
Is this ideal? No. Is finding the time to write easy? No. Not for me, and not for anyone. No one has loads of time on their hands these days. We're all overscheduled and busy and tired and in desperate need of just one more cup of coffee.
If you want to write, then write. You might have to get up two hours early, you might have to stay up three hours late, or you might have to sacrifice a good portion of your social life. It's not easy to find the time, but what else are you going to do? Not write?
Speaking of writing, I've got a couple of chapters I want to edit before going to bed...
So that's why you answered my email last night! I was up late here on the west coast - started writing at 9:15 after kids were in bed, chores were done. Did I want to? No, but I needed to. I wanted to after I started. :) I write in snippets throughout the day if I am lucky, but found I had to make choices about how to spend my evenings, which is where my biggest chunk of "free" time is. Was I going to spend each evening watching some show on Netflix that I didn't really care about, browse the web, reading other peoples' blogs? Or was I going to decide to walk away from the time sucks and focus for a few hours a week. Things started picking up for my writing when I made that decision.
You hit the nail right on the head. If I don't write at night, then I don't write, period. In order to get things done, choices must be made.
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