I was at my usual Thursday morning workout at Body Specs, lifting and spiking medicine balls, when a fellow glutton for punishment joined me. We were both Aikido students and share the same basic attitude about training. Sure, it’s tough, but we need it to stay fit and able to do the things we like to do.
“I have a friend who runs a lot, like you,” he said. “I’d sure like him to do this kind of cross-training.” He’d tried to convince him to try out Body Specs. His friend’s response was, “And when am I going to find time for that?”
His friend has a busy work schedule and kids, so I sympathized. Still, the catch phrase that sprang to mind nearly emerged from my mouth.
“You don’t find time. You have to make time.”
True enough: if you want something badly enough, you make time for it. That’s what I did to train for my ultras, and take Aikido classes, and work out at this gym. We both understood this, so there was no need to say it. And I’m guessing he was thinking it anyway.
But what really kept me from uttering said cliché was the sudden realization that I had this problem with my fiction writing. I started my first novel years ago, then got serious in 2020 and completed a first draft. I even wrote query letters and submitted to several agents. No bites yet, but that’s okay. I know it needs work, especially the opening chapters.
But actually sit down, focus, and rewrite those chapters? I have a job at a software company, a Zero Waste event business to run, and upcoming races to train for. Plus, you know, family life and such. And so I silently asked myself, right there spiking those medicine balls:
When am I going to have time to write?
And guess what? I don’t have an answer right now, except, well, a certain cliché. In order to make time right now, something else has to be set aside. And I don’t know what I should set aside. All I know is I want to move forward with my writing, and see progress toward publication, and write more novels.
Frankly, it’s pretty frustrating.
And yet, I got a recent email newsletter from Jericho Writers, whose principal editor wrote about this very feeling. His opinion? Stop feeling guilty and get on with your life. If you don’t have time to write because your life is full, then you obviously have higher priorities. And that’s okay.
This does apply to me right now. I’m not actively procrastinating (is that even possible?), it’s just that other activities are taking priority, and thus my time. Still, I wish I felt better about it. Right now I have no magic answer, no words of wisdom.
But I get the feeling that eventually, something will be set aside and I will make the time. And when I do, I’ll be sure to let you all know. Because I am, after all, a writer.