Sometimes less time is more, especially as a writer or artist.
These creative endeavors seem to come built in with procrastionation, distractibility, self sabotage and other wastage.
I recently tried to shed some of my work to make more time for my writing, but it didn't “work” out. Ever been there? At the end of the day, after all the angst, I faced the same limited number of hours I'd had for the last 2 years for my craft/obsession/passion.
It's kind of funny though. Having played my hand and done my best to make a change, I found in the end I didn’t want to give anything up. That left the challenge I’d already been dealing with (successfully too, when I stopped whining.) Renaissance Man kept saying to me, “it’s all in your head” (not something any therapist likes to hear) but he is right.
Once I stopped wishing for escape, wishing for more time to write. . . I discovered I had the time I’d always had. Time I could write rather than watching TV. Time I could write rather than gardening, or chores, or cooking. Time I could write rather than socializing.
Guess what? The garden lies fallow. The sink is full of dishes. The TV stays off. I work, I exercise, I go to church, I have a few friends who tolerate me, and I write.
And it’s enough—it’s been enough to write a novel a year and blog while working 55 hours a week. Never tell me there’s not enough time to do your passion, or that you need a year off to do that novel/paint/study Himalayan basketweaving before you get anything done.
You’re making excuses. Anesthetizing yourself with lies and wishful thinking.
Chances are, if you had the time you’d fritter it away. On one of my writing retreats, I listed all the things I did for years to suppress the urge/need/passion to write.
- Reading other people’s books (ooh, that’s a good one. Soak up your own creativity with someone else’s and feel inadequate to ever write anything that good!)
- Eat (a lot of carbs will slug you out to the point you can’t think let alone put together a sentence)
- Alcohol/substances (this wasn't one of mine, but it's a popular one)
- Shopping. (nuff said)
- Raise a family (this is a good excuse to most but other writers/artists aren’t impressed by it. Toddlers nap, don’t they? Frankly, we aren’t fooled, and you aren’t noble for putting the work you're called to aside. In the end, they grow up and leave you, so plan for it now.)
- Go to college for many many years (there's a lot of writing involved with college, and you can always get another degree. This one can go on awhile with society's blessing, but again, other artists aren't fooled by this delaying tactic)
- Personal Drama (Grist for the mill! Write about it and write through it!)
- Religion (church people won’t understand? Write anyway, wimp!)
- Overwork (persuing the Almighty Dollar. Well, sometimes you have to. Create before, after, and during your lunch break.)
Never say you don’t have enough time. You do. In fact, whatever time you have, is all you have, and you may never get that year off. You might actually find that the ticking timer spurs you on.
Have you ever noticed that the busier you are the more you get done? And I mean extra things… you are ramped up and keep doing! My mind flinches from this truth and I am off to spend a lazy Saturday at the beach with the kids! 🙂
be glad you aren’t beset by my obsession!
You are SO right! I have friends who tell me about their great weekend, all the things they did and places they went, and follow it with “but I didn’t get to write, sadly.” Or go on and on about the latest video game obsession, then “I wish I had time to write!”
When they get envious of my pile o’ manuscripts (I have completed ten novels in various stages from “first draft” to “published”) I want to smack them with something fairly light but not inconsequential.
Thanks for popping in KD, and damn, 10 books???? I can only dream of such an accomplishment!
Thanks for this. I might quibble with you on the going to college part. I’m in school mid-life to do something I’ve been wanting to do for 30 years and for me it was a kick-start to my confidence and helped me to build writing into my day, although I can see your point, depending on the course work. I’ve had a couple of Theology professors whose classes are writing-intensive, so I would use the class assignments as writing prompts.
I think the key is not using the college writing to delay you from practicing some of your own.
*ahem* Years of college? Er…um…well, I got it done, eventually. 😉 And I wrote a novel in the meantime. I haven’t seen a single prime-time TV show in over two years. There are sacrifices that need to be made to get things done. You’re absolutely right–you can put it off until “you have time,” but that time may never come. You don’t want to be full of regret hours later.
Writing is definitely easier when the kids are in school. I am not sure what I do when they aren’t but I have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Solution, stop sleeping. It’s overrated anyway and I see it’s not on your list.
I think it’s hard to work on the important things, whether they are writing, gardening, painting, cooking when so so much of the day is filled with “busy-ness.” The important things need space, time, and calmness. Re video games-does that mean iPad Scrabble? HMMMM!!!!!