Thanks to a combination of Sudafed and Killer Queen running in an endless loop through my head, I couldn’t sleep last night. So I decided to whip out the ol’ Kindle and read a bit, comprehending an occasional paragraph when Freddie Mercury would stop singing long enough to allow it (notice I didn’t say shut up, because one doesn’t tell Freddie Mercury to shut up, even when he’s become an ear worm). In the middle of all this mental chaos, I remembered a question someone asked me earlier that day that I answered poorly: you’re a mom, a teacher, you have a house, a husband, you have to cook and grocery shop…how do you find the time to write?
My lame-o answer: it’s a hobby?
I missed an opportunity to not only let my friend know a little more about my life, but to offer suggestions about making time to do anything, really. Replace the word write in her question with a blank and make it work for whatever thing it is you’re trying to accomplish: How do you find the time to ________?
Let’s get a couple things out of the way: 1. My kids are school-aged and relatively self-sufficient, compared to say, a one-year-old or an angry ferret, and 2. I work part time and only during the school year. If these factors weren’t part of my reality, finding time to write as much as I do would be much more difficult, but it would still happen.
The book I was trying to read was Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. She suggested sitting down at the same time every day to write because it primes your brain for creativity. I imagine it also forces you to carve time out of your day to write. Honestly, I skipped the rest of the chapter because finding time to write and being creative have not been problems for me.
Here’s why: I use all those in-between times during the day to write (and by “write” I mean actual writing, editing, critiquing other’s writing, etc). I write while I eat breakfast. I write while the laundry’s in the washer or the chicken’s in the oven. I write while my kids are getting dressed. While some people do housework or go grocery shopping to procrastinate some kind of writing task, I use writing to procrastinate doing all that other stuff.
Pro tip: put off grocery shopping long enough and you don’t need to make lists anymore, because you’ll need everything.
I’ve never counted the number of hours each day I spend writing, but it must be substantial because I’ve written about 180,000 words of fiction in the last year alone. I hardly ever watch TV anymore, and I read for fun much less than I used to. And I go through spells, especially when I’m writing an exciting part of a book, when I don’t sleep much.
I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change anything, because I love it. I wish I could spend more time writing. It’s not a hobby. It’s a passion.
Which brings me to the question with the blank: Is ______ something you love to do?
Hobbies are easily pushed to the wayside when something more interesting or more pressing comes along. Passions aren’t.
So how do I make the time? I don’t. The time is there. I just choose to fill it with writing.