That Mythical “Time to Write”

If you write, and if other people find out you are a writer,
then you have heard this sentence: “Oh, I always wanted to write a novel (poem,
screenplay, short story….), but I never got around to it.” Most often my
response to this statement is to nod my head and keep my mouth shut. Life is
full of choices, and some of us are lucky to have more of them. There are
people in this world, many of them, who don’t have the choice to devote time to
writing creatively because they are so incredibly busy chiseling out an
existence. They carry water five miles, or have three jobs to support their kids,
or live under physical or mental conditions that prevent them from
writing.  And then there are the people
who have chosen to learn how to beat the highest level of Grand Theft Auto or
watch every episode of Breaking Bad,
rather than writing. No shade implied. We all get to make decisions.
But when someone asks me how to make time to write, I run
out of things to say other than, “If you want to write, you may have to
sacrifice something else so that you have time and energy.” For me this means
waking up at 5:30 in the morning so that I can fit it in before I start
work. Stephen King wrote his first book in the laundry room of his crappy
trailer in the evening while he worked as a high school teacher. I’m betting that many a mother out there has written a book while
her baby napped. I’m also betting that like a lot of you reading this, you
squeeze it in, that writing time.
So next time someone asks you how to make time to write,
maybe you can answer like Alan Watts did:

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start
writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death
row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a
pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on
your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird
flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us
something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your
deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone.
Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re
one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

Hey, make some time to write this week. Even if you have to
get up early in the morning to do it. Raise your cup of coffee to me, and I’ll
do the same to you.
take care,


2 thoughts on “That Mythical “Time to Write””

  1. Raising my cuppa to you this morning. Nice post. Love the Stephen King anecdote – it's so perfect for him.

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