Many writers strive to carve out time to write in a busy day. And anyone who has either children or pets knows the deep frustration of getting into your groove just to be interrupted by another’s questions, comments or demands. I sometimes can’t even write if anyone is in my house (my office is at home)–I need a level of focus and silence that you might find in a NASA lab.
But how often do you give up your writing time to well-meaning friends, family and coworkers? How often do you answer your door or phone when you’re attempting to write? How often do you get up to do chores, busy work or mess around on your iPad? No judgment here. It’s important to ask yourself these questions if you intend to write.
Writing is such a silent, solitary endeavor that many people in your life may not even know that you write at all, much less how often or how much time and effort you devote to your craft or the business end of the process. Even those with the best intentions may not understand that the long stretches of time you spend staring out the window are not “interruptible” but rather crucial artistic musings. Those who read your work may assume you churn out every piece in one sitting, with no clue as to the number of hours, the agony, and the investment you devote to even the shortest essay. As such, you can’t rely on people in your life, be they best friends or colleagues, to know how precious your writing time and energies are. That’s on you.
A big part of building a lasting writing practice means not negotiating your writing time out of obligations, guilt, fear, friendship, or other reasons. It means talking about your writing as the powerful, purposeful, entertaining, beneficial work that it is. It’s easy to tell yourself it’s frivolous and inconsequential, particularly if it doesn’t yet produce an income or attract readers, but that is the lie of the ego, which does not have your best interests at heart. From, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, Chapter 6. Amazon.Writer’s Digest Shop. Barnes & Noble. IndieBound.
Once you make time for the writing, you need to protect the time as though it were a rare, precious heirloom (which it is).
If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or sign up for my newsletter. Also check out my books: A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, Night Oracle, Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time and, Forged in Grace.
Photo by Miguel Domingo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License.