No time for writing?

No time to write
No time to write
“To say I don’t have time is to say I don’t want to.”

Lao Tzu

I’ve heard this excuse, “I don’t have time,” from people in my writer’s workshops, from clients and friends, and, most often, from myself.

And yet I’ve never met a single person (once again, including myself) who, when given permission to write, has not been able to find the time to do so.

The truth is…

I’ve noticed that when I really don’t have time to write, it’s because I really don’t want to. And when I think I don’t have time, but I really want to write then somehow I get the time I need.

Think of it this way – if you had to look at the average person’s daily to-do list, you would probably shake your head and say, “But that’s impossible! I’m sure you don’t have the time to do all that!” And yet, amazingly, we manage to fit it all into the day.

And with such an already full day, if you suddenly needed to take your child to visit the dentist, or you had a doctor’s appointment to go to, guess what? You would somehow find the time to do those things as well.

One of the biggest myths about writing

One of the biggest myths in the common writing psyche is that writers need lots of alone time to be able to write. This is nonsense and needs to be eradicated from our belief system. We might enjoy alone time, but it is not a prerequisite to writing.

So while we might validly complain that we don’t have enough alone time to write, it’s not the same thing as saying that we don’t have time to write.

As Lao Tzu said, if we really want to, we’ll find time. The proof that he was correct is in our daily life – we already make time for everything that is important to us, and when more important things crop up, we fit those in as well.

Julia Cameron has a wonderful phrase for understanding how we can find the time to write. She talks about fitting writing into the nooks and crannies of our lives, so it is with this analogy in mind, which is a lot more realistic than trying to find hours of undisturbed writing time, that you can start to identify pockets of time where you could put pen to paper.

2 Simple Tips

  • I do a lot of my thinking about my writing when I'm busy with other things like household tasks, driving, cooking, at the playground or beach with my kids etc. And in my mind, I get clear about what to write next and where to start so that when I have half an hour to write, I can sit down and start writing. I don’t need to think about anything or research it or procrastinate in any other way before I can start.
  • Use a simple affirmation. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this has worked miracles in my life. And it works, regardless of how full your plate is at the moment. Give it a try. Just simply affirm to yourself that you have enough time to write every day. Say it to yourself especially when you can’t identify the pockets of time available to you.

No amount of techniques or tips will work for you if you don’t really, honestly want to write. I’ve had people attending my writer’s workshops who say they want to write, but all they come up with are more and more excuses for why they’re not writing. And if this sounds like you, then ask yourself what I would ask you if you were my client, “Do you really want to write? “

Because if the answer to this is yes, then there is time.

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