It’s been nearly three years since I began this writing journey. During that time, I’ve maintained this blog, written two novellas, and one novel. I have opened up a website with my pen name and I’m half way through my third novella.
I guess I should be slightly impressed with myself and that amount of writing. I work full time and I parent full time. I do a lot of things full time, but I write part-part-time.
This troubles me. I have been wrestling with my lack of writing time. It is a moral, intellectual, and spiritual conundrum. I wish I was being melodramatic with that statement, like some sort of teenager meandering the travails of a love triangle. But, it is true.
I’ve been given the rare gift of self-reflection over the past few years. I should correct that statement. Most people have the ability to self-reflect, but I’ve been given the unique tools and a pool of people as resources to help along that self-reflection process. And it is just that, a long arduous process that is a lifestyle for a lifetime.
So, I had to stop and really think why I feel so ambivalent about my writing time. My multitude of responsibilities almost appear like a gigantic garbage heap of miscellaneous pieces. It is a Sisyphean task that perpetually repeats itself. Dinner, laundry, homework, paperwork, bills, parenting, driving, cleaning, socializing, exercising etc., etc., and more etc.
I ask myself perpetually, “When will I have time to write?” I experience anxiety, and disappointment simultaneously while trying to answer that question.
So, I used those tools of self-analysis. Here is my conclusion. My writing can’t be a left over job. I can’t think of writing as a task that needs to be tackled after my tasks A-ZZ have been completed. My writing isn’t even on the back burner. It’s sometimes that item in the back of the freezer that needs to be cooked, but that is slowly developing freezer burn from neglect.
In order for this publishing dream to take fruition from fantasy to reality, my writing must take precedence over some of the more menial tasks in my life. It needs to be on a burner permanently and not taken off.
That isn’t an easy conclusion to process. To focus myself on writing, that means something else has to slide off that cumbersome heap. It could mean my household chores don’t get done. It could mean I say no to going places. It could mean I send my kids away. It could mean I tell my family I’m disappearing and go write somewhere – and allow myself a guilt free experience.
However, whatever, and whenever I decide, this dream can only move from the mists into reality if I give it the time and credibility it deserves. I need to do what J.K. Rowling suggested, make my writing time sacred.
That’s my mission. Force myself, without guilt, to create a sacred writing time and space for myself and for my writing.
“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.” – J.K. Rowling