Time, You Ain’t No Friend of Mine

I think most writers will tell you that the hardest thing about writing is simply finding time to do it. While I think we all love writing, otherwise we wouldn’t pursue it, there is always something else to do. One of the greatest things about this site is that it gives all of us an excuse to sit down and get into the writer’s mindset.

There are so many other things that draw your attention. There is the five-year-old running around with Batman Legos showing off his newest rocket ship. There is a book, D.H. Lawrence’s novella “The Fox” which my professor demands I read and analyze. There is my wonderful girlfriend who is also trying to find time to write.

After working all day away from your family, isolating yourself to write seems like the last thing you want to do. There are so few hours in a day, and so many things you need to do, or even want to do. In the end, you have to make choices. For some people, that means writing early in the morning or late at night. For others, it means prioritizing time. The important things come before writing, and the rest are pushed aside.

There are a lot of TV shows that I never see, in part because I don’t have cable and my Netflix mostly exists so my son can watch Power Ranger re-runs. There are video games I will never get around to playing, despite at one time being an avid gamer. There are over two hundred books on my shelves I have never gotten around to reading, and they are books I actually own. I subscribe to The New Yorker and The Writer. I am at least a month behind on each of them, all of the time.

I used to say that setting was the hardest thing about writing. I saw it as a weakness and struggled with how much was too much, how much was not enough, and how to work it into my narrative without leaving seams. In the end, that is just mechanical baloney. If you write enough, you work out your mechanics and your technique.

Writing is the easiest thing about writing. You sit down and do it. Perspective, character traits, plotting techniques, metaphorical analogies, and all of that other stuff is easy. If you write, read, socialize with other writers, read some more, write a lot more, and simply keep at it, you will be a better writer.

No matter what you do, there will never be more than twenty-four hours in the day. You will need to sleep during some of them. You will need to make a living, if you aren’t yet able to do that with your writing. Your family and your health will need attention. Once you have done all of that, it is up to you to make your literary career fit in with the rest of your life. It is up to you if you are willing to make your priorities: family, work, then writing.

It doesn’t have to take as much time as you would think. A little less than a year ago, I wrote 50,000 words in a little over two weeks by writing about three hours a day for NaNoWriMo. I snuck in writing during my lunch hour and stayed up two hours after my son went to bed every night.

This life isn’t easy. It isn’t for everyone. The time is the hard part. But the writing makes it completely worth it.

Jack Campbell, Jr. is a dark fiction writer in Lawrence, KS. His writing has appeared in various venues including Twenty 3 Magazine, Danse Macabre, and Insomnia Press. He writes about reading, writing, and life on his blog at www.jackcampbelljr.com.

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