rom an email from a dear friend of mine…
“So I decided to ask you for advice.
You have a home, a wife, a job, a yard, a pet, a train hobby, ride a bike, and you and JB travel.
So how do you find time to write?
Do you apply your stealth mode and disappear……and if so, how do you find time?”
I will admit that I face a significant time shortage. I used to set aside every Tuesday and Thursday evening for writing (three hours and then a cool-down walk). I also used my lunch breaks for writing (an hour a day really spools out a story). But that’s all ‘used to be’.
Now, I’m facing all sorts of encroachments to my time. At home that damn Roku unit is burning hours a week (on “Breaking Bad”, which I can try to justify as “researching storytelling techniques“). And my wife’s work is delaying her get-home time, which shifts dinner back. At the same time, I have scheduled weekly calls to my best friend on Tuesday (which is now virtually gone) and my mom on Thursday. Monday and Wednesday nights are trains, Fridays are cocoon nights, Weekends are full of activities and movie-watching, and Sunday night is time for some quiet reading. Then there are those twice a week blogs that I gotta pull out of my otherside pie hole. And, yes, Mookie the cat can be counted on to jump in my lap and try to cuddle while I’m writing.
So yes, I’m busy.
But that’s not the reason. Not really.
I don’t remember where I saw this, but someplace it remember it being mentioned that people have about ten years of enthusiastic creativity. Whatever it is that drives them, that’s what will make them get up at 5am or work until post-midnight. It’s what will cause them to carry a notebook around in case an idea comes. It’s why they turn down dinner parties, movie outings, sex, drugs, rock and roll, everything and anything.
I remember being at dinner with my inlaws one night, a tedious affair that went into its third hour. And at home, my final two chapters of Early Retyrement were waiting to be written. Finally I just put down my fork and said, “Thanks for dinner, folks. We have to run.” In the parking lot, I glanced at my fuming wife and said, “You can scream and yell and whatever… only after I get my last ten pages outta my head.”
I wouldn’t do that now.
I was enthusiastically creative back then. The problem wasn’t finding the time, it was making the excuses to take that time back. It was being rude and frustrated and twitchy. I had to write. But now my creativity has cooled. Oh, the imagination is still there – crazy wonderful plots come to me and I smile and note them down. And my existing books – I have to remind myself to submit a couple. But its not like when I was a hot-blooded maniac, jotting notes on a thigh-belted flight clipboard while commuting to the Cape, capturing all those ideas. It’s harder and harder to find that passion I once had.So that’s what I’m saying. Your problem isn’t finding the time. It’s finding the passion. And it’s something I’ve been dealing with for the last year. Because, even today, two hours before writing this, I accepted a lunch date and left my tinytop at the desk, cold and dead, instead of working on that little commission I need to get out. Years ago, it wouldn’t be a problem. Now it is.
How you find that passion, that’s your job. But let me know what you find. Maybe I can find it too.