Separating the Real from the Ideal

Happy MLK Day! Today, a quick post on taking time for writing. My last post, on writer’s block, was quite lengthy, so this one is going to be brief.

I used to think how neat it would be to get up at dawn and write until the rest of my family woke up. What an ideal- the Spartan denial of sleep combined with the wholesome romance of pink sky and dew on the grass. Silence, solitude, work. Beautiful.

I’ve been writing on and off for a decade now. I have never, ever gotten up early to write. Ever.

My point is, when you are trying to block out time in your schedule to write, be realistic. Identify what time you can sacrifice to your art without feeling like a martyr. For me, that’s my toddler’s naptime. I can use that mid-day hour easily. I also try to write at night, but after the whole 1950’s style dinner-dishes-baby’s bath-baby’s bed jamboree that my nightlife has recently turned into, I often lack the energy. However I’ve found that if I worked during naptime, the day’s material still feels fresh enough in my mind that I’m willing to sit down and look at it, maybe do some edits, maybe keep going.

Find the time you can give, without giving too much. Find a door you can close, and close it. Turn off the phone, unplug the modem, and get cracking.