Two Dirty Words — “No Time”

Okay, I’m going to say it and hate me all you want, but sometimes it’s just true. Some days there is no time to write!

It’s a horrible reality, like death and taxes and waiting for replies to queries.

Writers are told that nothing is more important than the craft. Like Stephen King says, if you want to be a writer, you have to read and you have to write. In the make-believe realm of Writer’s World, there would always be magical moments when the clock stops, the children take naps, and the dryer hums quietly making sure nothing wrinkles until the spell breaks and it’s time to get back to reality. In today’s world, writers are often Cinderellas stuck mopping floors, just waiting for our godmother to send us — not to the ball- but to some quiet sanctuary where we can WRITE!

Non-writers don’t get it. They don’t understand that not writing is like not getting the drug we’re addicted to. It’s literally like all the characters in our brains start running their fingernails (and some of them have very long fingernails indeed) across some chalkboard in our brains. To put it mildly, we get a little…irritable when we don’t get to write. But it happens.

Life gets in the way. Things like the need to pay bills and eat and avoiding ending up as guests on Dr. Phil because we’ve neglected our children and spouses and we remember our characters’ birthdays but not theirs.

So what do we do?

What can we do?

First and foremost, we have to not beat ourselves up. We may create superheroes on the page, but sadly, we can’t turn ourselves into them. We can’t go without sleep or food or somehow add hours to the clock. We can however remember that tomorrow is a new day. Sure, it will come with challenges, like every day does, but it’s new. It’s fresh. It’s a blank page.

Even if you can’t get a word physically on that page because the one hour you’d carefully set aside is taken up by an emergency trip to the vet because the dog ate a roach hotel, you can still think about writing. You can turn the radio off and visit with your characters at stop signs and traffic lights. You can jot an idea down in the little notebook you carry or on a fast-food napkin. You can fan the flames of your creativity until things settle down a bit.

They’ll never settle down completely. Writer’s World doesn’t exist. But we can remember that tomorrow is a new day, and with it comes a new night and new minutes and new moments. New opportunities to push the laundry and the grading and the dishes aside, and do what keeps us sane.

Write when and what you can. Fifteen minutes at lunch is better than nothing at all. And amazingly, if we give ourselves small goals, they have a way of growing bigger. Fifteen minutes at lunch turns to thirty. Maybe we wake up thirty minutes before the alarm goes off and instead of going back to sleep, we get to work.

Stephen King is right in that to be a writer you have to read a lot and you have to write a lot. But when life becomes our own personal antagonists, we have to remember that ‘life’ is what it’s all about. Enjoy the cuddles when the kids are sick, don’t forget to listen to the birds when you take the dog for a walk. After all, if we get too out of touch with our own lives, how will we be able to write about the lives of our characters?

4 thoughts on “Two Dirty Words — “No Time”

  1. WRITER’S WORLD DOESN’T EXIST???? 🙂
    Seriously, I almost blogged on this exact topic today – this past week has been so crazy, and I feel guilty for not writing *(or even being able to do the research I need to be doing). But when you have tests to oversee and a job to find, writing sometimes just has to . . . take the back seat.

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  2. I actually did blog on this same topic. I work a full-time job, have kids, and juggle house work. My fiance is wonderful and helps me when he can, but he can’t afford to pay his bills and mine. My writing time consists of getting to work an hour early to write in my car (while praying my laptop holds a decent charge) and writing on my thirty minute lunch breaks. Sometimes, it’s just so overwhelming especially since I work 3rd and feel like I don’t get enough sleep as it is. I hope this new job (on 2nd shift with no mandatory over time) really pans out and I can put in more writing/reading time.

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  3. Hi Neen Lee, It’s so good to connect with another writer who understands the challenges, especially when kids are involved. I remember thinking about quitting, but my kids had seen me writing so much and trying so hard to get published that I didn’t want them to follow my footsteps and give up their dreams someday. I was about to jump off the proverbial “I quit” cliff when I finally got an agent. Whatever it is that keeps us going, the important thing is to keep going. I hope the new job helps out. You definitely sound like you have what it takes 🙂

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