How Do You Make the Time to Write?

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Since college, I've held fast to an existential philosophy that goes something like this:

We make time for whatever is important to us. Our actions are the biggest indicators of who we are.

Not surprisingly, when I began working for Writer's Digest, I had little patience for writers who complained about having lack of time. We're all given the same amount of time in a day, and we make choices we must be held accountable for.

Those who don't have time to write:

  • haven't yet made the necessary sacrifices to create time (like giving up TV or sleep)
  • OR: don't yet have the discipline to set aside the time to write
  • AND: may be too afraid to make the time (fear of failing or starting at all)

When attending the Midwest Writers Workshop one year, I met Haven Kimmel's mother, Delonda. It was an otherworldly experience since I knew her first as a character in Kimmel's memoir, A Girl Named Zippy.

At the time, I was not writing a word. I carried guilt over it—I was an editor and publisher of references for writers, yet felt uncomfortable telling anyone I was a writer. Because I really wasn't (despite the degrees and background).

As I was confessing my lack of writerhood, Delonda said, with such grace and empathy, "Why dear, you're exhausted."

It was probably the kindest thing anyone had said to me at that point in my life, and she squeezed my hand as she said it.

I had never looked at it from that perspective before.

Suddenly my own choice came into view—it wasn't a matter of being "good enough" or productive enough or disciplined enough to be a writer. During this period of my life, I focus on Writer's Digest, and I have to acknowledge that, for as long as I do, my energy for other things will be limited.

It's important to acknowledge and fully realize what choices we are making—either in the short-term or long-term—that impact other things we want to achieve. What sacrifices are we making, implicitly or explicitly?

We can't have it all (at least not all at once). We have to choose.

Photo credit: gilderic

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