A friend of mine advised me when I started this site that I should post at least once a week, because otherwise people will stop paying attention. To those of you that have read and talked to me about my posts, I hope you’re still with me, and I’m sorry for the delay. Between completing teacher’s college and trying to find a job, time seems to have been going by too quickly, so that I completely lost track of how long it had been since I updated this site.
Since that’s the topic on my mind right now, I’m going to write about what I find is one of the biggest challenges of being a writer: trying to find time and mental focus to write. I’ve remarked to my fiancée that humans (including myself) tend to make life very, very complicated, to the point that it amazes me sometimes how we’re able to accomplish anything. I realize that some of this complication is unavoidable – cleaning and maintenance at home, finding work, etc. – and unfortunately trying to reduce life’s complexity is sometimes like stopping a meteor with a BB gun. There’s just too much that we need to do. And, often, too much that we want to do.
As a writer, I’m finding this particularly challenging. It’s difficult to block out everything that I have to do and concentrate on my writing. Since I can’t ignore these things, it’s hard to justify taking an afternoon to focus on writing. And in my current jobless state, I also can’t justify going to a coffee shop regularly to get away from my household tasks. And I can’t just write anywhere, because for me writing comes easily only in the right atmosphere, so that going to a quiet library for free isn’t an option. AND lugging my laptop, power cables, and other necessities around can be a pain in the ass. AND how do you explain to family and friends that you need to be left alone for a few hours to write, especially when one of the many things you want to do is spend time with them?
You see the issue, I hope.
So what is a writer to do? Honestly, I don’t have a definite solution. No writer does, but every writer has advice on how to do it. Most recently, Diane Schoemperlen shared her strategy with me, which is to figure out what time of day you’re most productive and set that aside for writing, whenever possible. I’ve been trying (and failing) to get into a routine on this, and I’m hoping I’ll figure it out soon. I think that the problem of not keeping up with writing is just something that every writer has to deal with, and try not to get too stressed out about. If two weeks go by without getting any writing done, don’t feel like you’re letting down your practice. Just think of writing as something that you like to do that you haven’t had time for recently, but that you’re resolved to make time for in the next couple of days.
I said every writer has advice, and I just slipped into mine without thinking. Oops. My point above is that writing should be fun; I write mainly because I enjoy it, and I try to avoid getting stressed about not writing, because then I risk adding it to the list of things I have to do. And I definitely don’t want that.
What are your thoughts, fellow writers? Feel free to share them with me. Or we can collectively lament how complicated and busy our lives are.