It always seems like a strange question (especially from wanna-be writers): “How do you make the time for writing?”
My answer (which I picked up someplace along my life) is “Butt glue”. That’s what it takes to make myself write – establishing a time and metaphorically gluing my ass to the chair, and forcing myself to write. Some of my best writing came from times when I really didn’t want to, but had to.
But that’s not the real crux of the question.
See, it’s not just about finding time (and passion) to write. That’s the easy part. I’m always listening to internal narratives (mine, others, or fictional) all day. Writing them down clears my soul. But there are other things about writing, worse things, which you are going to have to do in pursuit of your endeavor. Trust me – you aren’t going to want to do any of these things.
Right now, I’m putting together 3×5 cards for a speech at the library. This is a love/hate thing – I’m looking forward to the engagement and I really want to give a good talk but I’m a mediocre speaker. Do I really want to sit in my chair at night, timer running on the computer, speechifying through my eleven cards and tuning what works? Is that why I write? No.
I’m also trying to lure the artist I used (so successfully) in Early ReTyrement to do my map in Indigo (as part of my agent submission packet). Do I like getting dozens of submissions and having to pick a winner in this creativity Hunger Games? And then forking out cash? Not really.
And there is the entertainment lawyer I’ve contracted in LA for a few issues I’m dealing with. Nothing major. But dealing with LA people is like dealing with hyperactive children – when I hang up the phone, I’m exhausted. And our progress is so slow. Is this the tart taste of creativity? Not really.
Even this website you are viewing right now was put together by me. I had to spend a month or so fumbling around with a Jumla book to figure how this all went together. I’m not a web designer so all that had to come from researching and tinkering and fumbling. It all came out of writing time (or sitting in front of the TV, numb, time).
There is a popular trope the involves successful writers groaning about all the book groups they need to speak before, of their tiresome dealings with Hollywood and the wearisome signings. And every wishful-writer who considers that concept secretly thinks, “I’d sign up for those troubles in a second”. But remember that there is truth in this – that as a writer, you’re going to have to do a lot of things you’d rather not do. You are going to have to spellcheck hundreds of pages. You are going to have to learn every detail of Microsoft Word (how do I turn off this goddam paperclip guy!). You are going to have to write (and later revise) cover letters to agents. You are going to have to spend evenings assembling submission packets (complete with SASEs for those rejection letters). You are going to have to learn how to deal with agents, or, conversely, how to work in eLance, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. You are going to have to hone your sales pitch. You are going to have to learn to smile when readers tell you where your book failed (and which parts were boring, silly, misguided, or why they didn’t get through it in the first place). There are thousand things you are going to have to force yourself to do if you are ever going to see your book in print, in any format.
But, on the plus side, you get to write.
I always find time for that.
(see how that works?)