Some days I feel like a time traveler, traveling between two universes.
If I want to be a writer, I need to write regularly. This is true: nothing can teach me more about writing than the act of writing itself. The more I write, the better writer I’ll be.
So I have to give myself the chance, the time, the opportunity to write regularly. Some days, I set my sights small, and I write a little bit, only 15 or 30 minutes. Other days, I crawl out of bed at 5 a.m. and write for two hours.
Here’s another truth: my writing life, like my real life, is always slipping away from me. There is never enough time for writing; it is a parallel universe where every moment spent in my real life is a moment missed in my very, interesting and entertaining writing life, and vice versa. Some days, like today, when I’ve got professorly duties, plus family and life obligations, I’d like to be locked in windowed room, with food anonymously lelt for me.
But that’s not life, is it?
The best I can do is tell myself: Don’t. Forget. To. Write.
I am a writer.
I am a woman writer.
In my world, that makes me superwoman.
What’s your superpower?
We’ve been told we all have the same 24 hours, no excuses.
Except that we don’t. No, really, we don’t. We’re too busy cooking and cleaning.
A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey showed that women still spend 1 hour and 18 minutes more every day on household activities* than men do.
*Household activities: things like housework, cooking, taking care of the kids, and other household management.
On an average day, 19% of men do housework, compared to 49% of women; 46% of men do food prep or clean up, compared to 69% of women.
If you’ve wondering why you can’t find time to write, that’s one reason. So don’t feel guilty when you run out of time. And, for goodness sake, don’t listen to anyone that tells you you’re not trying hard enough.
We are women. We do things that are impossible, like herding cats. Every. Freaking. Day. Today is a good day to remember that nothing is beyond the bounds of possibility when it comes to your writing dreams. Go and write. And when you need a break, herd a few cats.
To write when we have so many other pressing demands takes courage.
Katherine Anne Porter said, “One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it.”
It takes courage to move beyond wanting to write, to writing. Courage to put words down on paper. Courage to tune out family and responsibilities, if even only for a short time.
But there is no other way to be a writer. The actual, genuine, true gift of writing is courage. You, dear writer, are braver than you think.
Hello writer friends. Too many article tell us writers what we need to give up to be a writer. Here are some things to give yourself: credit * a break * time * permission to make mistakes * a chance to recharge
The truth about those motivational articles and books that say you can find inspiration anytime and anywhere: They lie. They are written by a collective of cranky motivational “experts” who have devised ways to keep the rest of us in perpetual uncertainty, frustration, discontent, and torture.
I think they meet every Thursday at noon.
And they wear berets.
If you want to be a writer you have to show up, sit down, and write. Words may be dictated to you by God as they were for Giacomo Puccini when he wrote the opera Madame Butterfly, but then it’s up to you to do the menial work of getting them down on paper, because you’re just the designated typist. That job involves a lot of hard, laborious, meticulous work that takes dedication and persistence. When it comes right down to it, writing is just a job, and like any other job you have to work at it. Okay, and it’s the only thing that makes you happy.
Writers like to tell other writers to trust the process. Show up, sit down and write, and trust that something good is emerging.
But how do you trust the process? It’s simple. You need a plan that guides your writing:
Pick a place to write in every day
Pick a time to write every day
Pick an amount of time to write every day
That’s it. It could be your favorite coffee shop at 7 a.m. for 30 minutes or your lunch hour. It could be your armchair in your living room at 7 p.m. Do that every day—or at least more days than not—and you’ll find the process is working.
Make it a habit to read work that matches roughly what you hope to write and publish. Read the kind of books you’d like to write, the poems you’d like to write, the articles you’d like to write for magazines. Make it as important as anything else you schedule in your day, and never allow busyness to crowd out the time you devote to consuming other good works.