A lot of the time when I see students a year or so later from a pervious class I’ll ask them an obvious question.
‘Have you done much more writing.’
The person then gives me this watery knowing look and wilts back before saying something roughly like: ‘Oh a little… but not heaps… I just don’t have time.’
It is weird, and the reason why it is weird is because this same person professes a desire to be an ‘author’ a ‘writer’ and write amazing things, and yet the whole process of putting pen to paper or hands to keyboard seems unusually hard.
‘I don’t have time.’
The other day I was watching ‘Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners.’ I have a love/hate relationship with this show because it is absolutely disgusting but you get so curious to see how gross people can be.
If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Anyway, the biggest excuse people give – when surrounded by towers of boxes, unwashed underpants, and animal excretions – for not cleaning is the SAME thing.
‘I don’t have time.’
Reality we do have time, the same amount actually, every one of us. Twenty four hours in a day, one hundred and sixty eight in a week, and eight thousand seven hundred and thirty six in a year.
We are all allocated the same hours, but depending on what we fill our lives with, depends on what we actually have time for.
I’ve had people tell me that they are going to be best selling authors and then tell me they don’t have time to write but spend every ounce of their spare time at the mall with friends.
Reality check: they do have time, they are just choosing to spend it elsewhere.
And it isn’t a bad thing, at the end of the day no one forces you to do anything, so if you go to the mall or write it matters little.
What it does show is that passion pushes productivity.
When I was in high school someone told me if something is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, you know it is your calling.
For me that has always been writing.
Prioritizing it has always been a difficult thing to do but I wouldn’t for a second dream of stopping.
In primary school I was absolutely desperate, I’d beg my teachers to let me write if I finished all my school word, and they did. That’s how I finished my very first book, penned in a school notebook, called Gaf and the Dinos (could not spell the full word Dinosaur)
Later, in high school it got a little more difficult, because I wanted to be a part of the debate team, and I played Hockey and was in the Archery team for a year or so – not to mention school work! As a result the moment I came in from school at the end of the day I’d hop on my computer and write. Usually I’d get 3-4 pages done, but it was worth it. Slowly, but surely I chipped through it, only thing was I didn’t have heaps of time for TV, so I didn’t watch heaps and heaps.
Now days, with work it’s even harder, especially because I get home quite late, I have other commitments, and getting married etc, so I have another plan again. I get into work at a quarter past six usually, and for forty five minutes until 7am when I need to start organizing work, I write. Now days I get even smaller amounts done, but I still chip away at stories eventually finishing them.
One thing I believe I have worked out is balance, and that’s what we have to do in life, figure out what matters and in light of that, how do we balance it.
If I have a storyline to plan, it is likely I’ll set my alarm on a Saturday to 6am to get up and write.
If I have characters to develop I may sit at my desk on a Sunday afternoon.
I carry my notebook everywhere, jotting down inside of it any time and place capitalizing on my spare time.
There are things in life that are non-negotiable. Work, travel, bathing, relationships, sleeping… the key is making your other stuff fit around that well.
So… bad news is that maybe means getting up a little earlier every so often?
Keira Cass – one my favorite authors – is a stay at home mum and frequently comments about balancing her work life (writing), travelling for book tours, her struggles with anxiety and being a mother. But she makes it happen.
So this is why when someone tells me ‘I don’t have time.’ I internally roll my eyes and think, ‘It isn’t that you don’t have time, it is just something else is more important.’
Just a little challenging word for a Wednesday morning.