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Who has time for writing?

April 13, 2011

Perhaps the most common writing advice is “Make time to write.” This is wonderful advice. After all, without separating time for the craft, how can the artist create art?

On the other hand, this advice is also one of the most difficult to carry out. Other tasks push writing to the side.  For some, these tasks consist of kids and work. For the younger writers, classes and homework. Or maybe you have all of them at the same time. Either way, finding time for writing is difficult.

I actually laugh a little inside whenever I read somewhere that to write one must find a set time in one’s schedule, and one must sit in this wonderful quiet “writing heaven.” I don’t laugh because such advice is ridiculous, but because in my situation, it seems ridiculous. When am I supposed to write when I study full-time, hold a work-study job, and have an internship? In my spare time? Well, I need a few hours to sleep and to hold a social life, don’t I?

As for a writing spot, mine is usually either a dorm full of raucous college students that knock at the door once and then come in before you reply, or a crowded library where I can never find plugs for my running-out-of-battery-life laptop. I can’t lie. Both places can be wonderful, but they are far from a “writing heaven.” Hence, I don’t make time for writing or look for a special place to write. I just write when I can, and where I can. Sometimes while at work, even, I’ll start typing my stories as emails, and send them to myself.

Still, I have come to realize that complaining is pointless, because making time for writing is only for the better. So I am going to make time.

After all, there must always be some time. Ideally, a person should reserve at least an hour or two a day to write. Yet, we all know this is not always possible. Thus, for those of us who cannot–even if we want to and try to–find a place and a time for writing every day, it is fine to settle for some days.  What matters is that the stories, essays, novels, poems or plays which you are working on don’t stay in one place. Also, making time for writing should make the task easier. Having reserved time for something, you will not have to worry about fitting it in your to do list anymore.

If you’re in a similar position to the one that I’ve described, why don’t you take another look at your weekly schedule? Write it down if you must. Look at it well. There should be at least an hour you can reserve for writing, even if it’s once a week or twice a week. As for a place for writing, if you find an ideal one, cherish it, if not, there should be one that’s close enough to ideal, use it.

  1. April 13, 2011 3:41 am

    For me it all boils down to this. If I actively seek some writing time, I may manage to write that day. If I don’t, I won’t.

  2. April 13, 2011 5:55 am

    I recently finished graduate school, but still find it hard to make time — where did the hours go that I used to spend doing schoolwork? They’ve got to be somewhere! Thanks for this blog… it’s a nice reminder that even when there’s no perfect schedule or location, I have to write anyway.

  3. April 13, 2011 10:43 am

    There’s always time! 🙂

    That’s what I always say… and I always follow through with that statement. It’s tough, sure, but you have to find and commit. I usually get up before everyone in my house (and usually before the sun) to write in peace. Then I take the little breaks here and there to jot down notes, lines, ideas, etc. I always have a notebook with me.

    It’s a pain, sure, but such is the life of a writer. Who said anything was ever easy, right? 🙂

    Oh, and by the way, great post!

  4. Zoraida permalink
    April 14, 2011 5:35 am

    Thanks for all your comments. The thruth is that for anyone it can get difficult to find time to write.

  5. April 14, 2011 6:16 am

    When I had an office to go to, back when my employment was gainful and before I was relegated to working for myself at home, I would get to work early every day. I’m talking about an hour or two before everyone else got there. This gave me a very quiet, very private set of time to write. Some days, of course, I just did my job for an extra couple of hours. But most days I’d spend at least some of that time working on my novel or a story or a poem.

    It’s much harder to carve out that chunk of time now that I’m working at home, because the time I used to spend writing is now spent helping the kids get ready for school or dealing with other aspects of Life In General.

    Paul’s comment above is very accurate, though: if you don’t look for time, you won’t find it. I’ll add that sometimes you won’t find it even if you look, but clearly the first step is to look.

  6. April 14, 2011 7:20 am

    Great post…

    I liken writing to meditation, or zazen. At first, it takes a great deal of concentration with all the right equipment and the ideal environment. Everything has to be just exactly perfect.

    After a while, though, we get better at it, and we realize that, just because we have to lead busy lives, we should never lose that awareness. So, we begin practicing walking zazen, where we are meditating as we are going about daily business. We are always aware, focused, meditating.

    Writing can be the same thing for us; at first, it’s all about location and equipment. As we get better at it, we can write anywhere, at any time, for any reason. I have a collection of napkins from food courts, where I’ve written like a madman as my children spin round and round on the carousel in the center of the mall. My Moleskine and Piccadilly pocket notebooks are filled with walking thoughts and observations, many of which have served as seeds to story ideas and essays that I have later published. Had I waited to return to that writer’s lair and the golden moment, chances are more than good that I would have forgotten or even lost my interest in that story seed.

    Write as you breathe….It’s who you are!

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