Writing Up: Making Time

Prague Astronomical ClockWhen it comes to time, the majority of people fall into one of two camps: People who feel they have all the time in the world, or people who feel the world has most of their time. Personally I’ve been in both camps at different times.

For the time wasters: If you have the time but aren’t using it, know full well that you are feeling the psychic wrath of all other writers in the world unable to get so much as fifteen minutes a day to get to the page. Turn off the Xbox and get to writing.

As for the rest of us, we need to make sacrifices.

Making time doesn’t mean taking advantage of whatever leftover time you have from the day or week to get to your writing. Making time means scheduling time in advance and then sticking to it.

Now for the hard choices. Where to get that time.

For some it might mean turning off the television, internet, or game console. I know what it means to get attached to a weekly drama or sitcom. And trust me, Facebook will not crash if you fail to update or comment on a status. I’m also pretty sure all games now have the ability to save your progress so you can continue at a later time.

Making those cuts will hurt. Withdrawal is real. But here’s a secret:

You’ll get over it.

Still for others it might mean cutting time with family and friends. If you haven’t caught on already, writing is a solitary pursuit. You need to do it alone. If your loved ones can’t deal with it, make them understand. It’s harder when that loved one is a three-year old. I know, I’m currently raising my third. One thing about three-year olds: they are the most resilient little creatures I know, and will forget about you faster than it takes you to feel guilty about it. Of course I ‘m saying this as a father who sees his children every day and night. Not every parent has that luxury, so please don’t take my advice as permission to ignore your children if your time is already limited with them.

If all you can scrape together is fifteen minutes here and there, take it. Mark it as your own and don’t let anyone or thing take it away from you. The more you do this, the more likely you’ll start adding minutes to that fifteen. With luck they might even be consecutive. If not, don’t give up the fifteen you’ve already appropriated.

There’s one thing I’ve learned about spending my time. If I don’t plan how to spend it, someone or thing will do it for me. I had to take control.

So should you.