When I was in my twenties I considered myself a writer but hardly wrote at all, especially not as much as I wanted to. I worked a 9-5, and I had this asinine notion that I could only write on the weekends.
What happened when the weekend came? One of two things. I was either too tired from the week to do anything but eat pizza and read magazines, or I would sit down and look at the manuscript and feel overwhelmed and give up after half an hour.
Even though it clearly wasn’t working for me, I was stuck on this notion that I needed huge chunks of time. It took me a long time (several years) to make tiny chunks of time.
The truth was that I was so overwhelmed by the process of writing a book and the task before me seemed so daunting, that I couldn’t hold the vision of it in my head. I fooled myself into believing that huge swaths of writing time was the solution to my troubles.
It took me the better part of six years to figure this out. It took me six years to change something that wasn’t working for me. I wish I could have come to my senses sooner, but you know the saying, if wishes were kisses and something something.
In any case I took a valuable lesson from that experience. If it’s not working for you, then fix it.
It seems so simple, but it’s easy to overlook when it’s time to fix something.
Even the smallest changes can make it easier for you to make that creative time. Prep the coffee pot the night before. Set an alarm to make yourself go to bed earlier. Go to the coffee shop and leave your phone at home.
At a talk Ursula K. Le Guin gave about her book, Steering the Craft, a young woman said that she had a problem with distractions involving Internet type things, and she wanted to know if Le Guin had any advice for her? Le Guin certainly did, but it was direct and truthful and probably not what the young woman wanted to hear. Le Guin said, “If you don’t want to write, then don’t write and go do something else.” She told the young woman to write for the sheer love of it.
Your twenties is the time in your life when you PR in fuck-ups, so I’m a little forgiving on myself where that is concerned, but I’m grateful I found my way. And even though that period of my life is in the past, one of the biggest lessons I learned from it stays with me.
If you love it and it matters to you, then make the change.
Photo from Unsplash by Toa Heftiba