Make Time to Write
I understand. I truly do. But as I carefully explain, there never will be time unless you make it. Stay up half an hour later every night. Stuff ten minutes of ideas into a notebook while you are sitting at the bus stop. Time to write isn’t born. It’s made.
I don’t know how often I convince anyone but I think I did once. We were having a conversation mid-panel-break and when the break was over, she picked up her bag, thanked me and said goodbye. ‘Aren’t you going to stay for the other half of the panel discussion,’ I asked. ‘No,’ she said, smiling. ‘I’m going home to write. Making time starts now.’ I wish I knew her name because I suspect it might be on the front of a book one day soon.
I always struggle to find the time to write. I have a family and a daytime job. More books on shelves hasn’t made any extra time miraculously appear. In fact, quite the opposite. Now I also need time to speak in schools and attend festivals. I love that part but it means I have less time than ever to write.
Sometimes I rush down to my laptop before dinner and scrawl a quick pargraph from an idea I’ve been carrying around in my head (or notebook) all day. I read it through and delete half of it. After dinner I rush back, in between supervising homework and packing lunches. I delete those few remaining sentences and wonder why I bothered with them in the first place.
Sometimes I feel too tired to write later at night. Usually I don’t get back to my office until 11pm. Maybe I’ll take the day off and write some more in the morning, I think. Mum, my tooth hurts, can you make a dental appointment before school? OK. Maybe I’ll write in the afternoon, I decide. Mum, can you pick me up early from soccer? OK. I’m flexible. I can do this. It’s got to be the midnight hour or nothing. *sigh*
I’ll be tired and sleepy but a cup of tea will help. And once the fingers are flying, the words are usually flowing. Hopefully I’ll write something good. And if it doesn’t work out that way, I’ll just delete it tomorrow in those few moments before dinner. Sometimes I make a lot of progress and sometimes I make a little. But I always make some time to write.