“How do you find the time to write?”
Let me be honest for a second here: I don’t find time to write. Finding time to write is usually impossible. I’m not a mom yet, or even a wife, but I work two part-time jobs and still have to run my fair share of errands. In a couple months here I might be going back to school full-time, while keeping those part-time jobs. I’ve done it before: worked 30+ hours a week and spent at least that much time at school and doing homework. I still wrote every day.
I’ve never ‘found time’ to write.
But, I have made time.
There are days when I magically have a couple hours to sit down with my laptop or a notepad and pencil. Those days are rare. It’s more likely for me to wake up early in the morning, head off to work, come home and cook dinner, and find my night spilling over with obligations. Sometimes it’s not even obligations; something that sounds a lot more ‘fun’ might come up, like some activity that resembles what having a social life would look like.
There are days when I wake up at seven in the morning and don’t get to sit down until midnight. But, it’s still possible to get writing done.
The fact of the matter is, it all comes down to priorities. Setting our priorities is something that most people think they’re good at, right? When it comes down to it, are any of us really good at it?
You can typically tell what a person’s priorities are. Often you can hear it when they talk, and you can tell what their priorities aren’t by whatever they say they don’t have time for. For example, my dad has talked about wanting to write a book. When I ask him if he’s ever really worked on it, he says no, he doesn’t have time. Does this really mean he has no time that could be used to work on writing a book? No. He still has leisure time, which he’ll occasionally use for computer games, video games, reading, movies, or even napping. Nothing’s wrong with doing any of these. But if writing a book were really a priority for him, sacrificing these other activities wouldn’t be a problem for him.
I think a lot of the things we call ‘priorities’, at least from what I’ve seen, aren’t actually priorities in every sense of the word. Many people seem to believe anything you sacrifice yourself for is a priority, when some of those ‘priorities’ are really things you should and could be making priorities over. This misguided definition may be what leads many people to believe the world isn’t ‘fair’.
I will vouch that a lot of things by themselves are not fair. Some people might go their entire lives without seeing anything that is really ‘fair’. Really, this is another topic for another blog post. Let me finalize this thought for a moment by saying that we might be looking for fairness in the wrong places.
A lot of people might laugh at me for my lack of real world experience. I don’t know what they’ve been through. They don’t know what I’ve been through. I’ve been through a heck of a lot of crap and spent most of my life suffering from severe depression and mild anxiety on my own. That doesn’t make my life any less fair than theirs. Not to mention, who knows how we would compare in the eyes of an all-knowing being if you set both of our eighteen-year old selves side by side. There’s always a political side to everything, but the fairness that really counts is internal, not external.
We can push ourselves. We can do everything we can, and we can change. We can succeed. All of that may have come to mind as external accomplishments, but none of that compares to what happens internally. It’s our mental fight, our emotional struggle.
Our external lives can say a lot about us, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. None of us ever have any right to judge someone by what’s going on internally.
I’m starting to wonder if I’ve gone off on a huge tangent, but I’m going to try and draw it back in.
There are a lot of places where internal and external efforts correspond. That isn’t for other people to judge, either. If anything, it’s where we can be honest with ourselves.
If we tell ourselves, “No, I don’t have the time or energy for this,” it could be the honest truth. On the other hand, it could mean you just don’t have the energy.
In what case did stopping when you ‘run out of energy’ make you any stronger?
Everything after you reach that point seems incredibly difficult. You’re ready to give up at any time. But, with every day that you push yourself, it gets easier. You find yourself capable of more. There are days when you still want to give up early and give yourself a break, but if you just keep pushing yourself to reach that goal, you never regret it in the long run.
I never ‘find time’ to write. I make the time, and I find the energy. I push myself. I search every last crevice in my mind to thoroughly wring out all the creativity I might find hiding there. Creative writing doesn’t necessarily get easier–at least not at a noticeable rate. But, you will find yourself getting into the habit. If you make writing something that you’re not willing to give up on, then that’s what it is. That’s how you find time to write. And more importantly, that’s what makes you a writer.