Simpson or Britney Spears folly, or play solitaire...
until you realize your writing time has elapsed and you need to be somewhere else.
If you're either smiling or grimacing in recognition of this scenario, you're not alone.
Sometimes it is joyously easy for us writers to write.
But at other times, maybe even most of the time, it's--well, it's work.
And if you're freelancing, there's no boss (other than you) to give you goals and deadlines, no one giving you annual performance appraisals, no one disciplining you when you fail to measure up.
You might get the occasional question from a friend or relative ("Have you written anything new lately?" or "Are you still writing?"), but that's hardly life-threatening.
You might experience a twinge of guilt or remorse.
Maybe you even lie and say, "Yeah, of course I'm still writing.
"But the truth is, you haven't been in the mood, and you and your conscience know it.
What is it about writing, especially for us part-time or aspiring freelancers, that leads us to believe we can let ourselves off the hook so easily?On the one hand, we claim that's what we want to do and be more than anything in the world--to write, to be a writer.
Yet, is that really true?If so, why aren't we making time to write every single day?Even when--especially when--we're not in the mood? Here's what I think.
Other than the fact that we're postponing our own writing goals and dreams, which should be important enough in itself, there are really no immediate consequences to putting off our stints at the keyboard.
If we simply stopped showing up at our day jobs just because we weren't in the mood, we'd lose it.
If we stopped preparing meals for our children because we just didn't feel like cooking, they would go hungry.
But if we go a day, a week, heck, even a year without writing,who besides ourselves would care? We need to start looking at our writing goals much the same way we do any other obligation in our lives, as something that must, not should, be done.
Like arriving to work on time or doing the laundry regularly, we need to schedule our writing time and just do it, regardless of the mood we're in.
Why?Because, unlike doing laundry or showing up at your day job, sticking with your writing and getting published brings the most extraordinary sense ofaccomplishment and fulfillment--something we can point at and say, "Look, I did that!"And it's a feeling we can recreate many times over, the more we devote ourselves to our writing.
So if, like me, you really, really, reallywant to be a writer, this is what I want you to do--join me, and commit to writing for a minimum of 15 minutes a day, or one hour and forty five minutes a week.
It doesn't matter what you write, or how many words, at least not at first.
Just make it a part of your daily routine, like taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
I think you'll find the time spent writing even more invigorating and refreshing.