One classic excuse we all have used at the start of our writing career is that we don’t have time to write.
I used this excuse repeatedly for years. Until I got fed up with being stuck in my life. After deciding that I wanted to write articles and books I had to make room for writing in my life.
I realized I had time in my life for writing. I remember the moment clearly. I was happily watching Netflix, one of those short series on a serial killer and a psychologist set in the later 1800’s in New York. In the middle of a particularly gory scene when one of the secondary actors supporting the psychologist was killed, I thought I could be writing now. I have the time to write now. Maybe the senseless way in which death was depicted hit me just before the thought dawned on me. I don’t know. Maybe I realized that I was watching someone else’s creation at 10 am on a Saturday morning, that I felt drawn into the story, that I had to look at the show early in the morning to bring that story one step closer to completion. Or maybe I realized that I could make the time to absorb someone else’s creation and not my own.
After the Netflix episode, I analyzed my week. It wasn’t a hard core analysis. I just thought about the number of days of the week that I was watching TV and how the time I spent doing so each day. Arrgghh. I get angry at myself just thinking about it because I was consistent in TV watching. Every single day of the week. For at least two hours. Fourteen hours of the week in TV watching. That’s one-third of a working week. I was spending one-third of my life absorbing content rather than creating content.
So I did have time to write.
Maybe you don’t watch as much TV as I did. Maybe you spend hours on social media on non-business networking with your friends and you do this every single day.
Do you see where I am going with this? Map out your time in your head or on paper for one week. Look for activities that you spend your time on every single day. Look for those activities occupying more than one hour.
Then question do you really need to spend so much time on that activity. If the activity makes you joyful in any way or is aligned with the dreams you have for yourself then you may want to keep it.
Evaluate everything you do in your life. Does the TV help you relax and transition away from your day job? Is it a way you and your family spend time together? Then ok, keep it. But do you need to watch two hours? Wouldn’t one hour alone be sufficient? Or, instead of watching 50 minute episodes, can you watch another series with 25 minute episodes?
Then decide that you will watch, say, only one 50 minute episode and that after the episode you will write.
If daily activities that occupy a chunk of your day doesn’t bring you joy, well now is a good time to spend less time on it. This is excluding caring for people who are your responsibility. Or, if it is not joyful and writing is, can you use writing on something you like for 10 minutes as a reward for the activity? Can’t you just journal your feelings to dump your frustrations onto paper before you go at your responsibilities again?
Remember, when you look at the people living and working at your dream, that they have the same number of hours in a day as you. You can either stay stuck wherever you are in your life or you can make the time to dig yourself out of the stasis that you are in and towards the freedom you desire. Make the time to write.