Finding time to write can be one of the biggest challenges that writers face. And it never seems to go away—no matter how much you write. But if you want to write, you must allocate time for it. That may seem obvious, but it is amazing how easy it is to forget.
Much of finding time to write comes down to priorities. If writing is a high priority in your life, then it needs to come before other things. Writing teacher Heather Sellers describes how a friend of hers sets aside time to write in the same way that she trains for a marathon. When writing, she describes herself as “in training” and says no to other things. She refuses to do errands, comes late to social events or blows them off entirely if she is on a roll, and declines a lot of other obligations. It may not be necessary to be so extreme. But her point is well taken: Choosing to write means refusing, or at least delaying, some other things in your life.
Sometimes, circumstances in people’s lives are such that they really don’t have time to write. That being said, sometimes writing becomes a lifeline in times of difficulty—so squeezing it in is a good idea. Both authors Stephen King and Stephen Ambrose have described how writing became an important activity to them during times of serious illness. In short, it kept them sane and from sinking into depression.
My point is that it is not always possible to tell from outside circumstances whether someone has time to write. You may be a person who by all outward appearances has no time to write. And you may decide to postpone writing until life is a little less crazed. Or you may decide that even 15 minutes a day will keep you sane. This is a decision only you can make.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett specializes in women's-health research including breastfeeding, depression, trauma, and health psychology. Her research interests include the psychoneuroimmunology of maternal depression and the lifetime health effects of trauma.
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