When I wrote this, it was Superbowl Sunday. The perfect day to address a question that comes up when people find out I am a writer and artist. They often ask how I get so much done. For instance, I wrote a young adult novel while finishing a graduate degree and working full time. I also mowed the lawn, cleaned the house and watched TV.
I don’t think any of that is miraculous. It seems to me that the subtext of the question is something like, “Why don’t I ever have time to pursue writing or art?”
I may write more than you do. I may create a wider variety of artwork. I am almost certain I also watch more television than you do, I see more movies, and I likely read more books. You probably spend more time with your children and grandchildren, though. You run more often and ride your bike ten times as much. You spend more time with your friends and you eat out more often. And, you watch the Superbowl.
My pursuits are not more noble. They are just more visible.
Each of us makes personal choices. They are often unfathomable to the people who make different choices. Writing and art are lonely pursuits. I am an introvert and prefer spending most of my time alone. Introvert is not synonymous with shy. It bothers me not at all to get up in front of 500 to speak--as long as I have something to say. I am comfortable leading a group of a dozen people in some task, brainstorming with them and having great fun. Going to dinner with those same folks, though, puts me into listening mode. Someone else is always a nanosecond quicker to interject and I don’t want to interrupt, so I stay quiet.
I prefer to gather my thoughts and put them on paper.
So, I do not snowmobile, brew beer or go to the gym to work out. That is not a sacrifice for me. I would rather write or make a pair of earrings than do any of those things.
So, why don’t you have the time to write? Maybe your life is packed with so many obligations that it is out of the question. Or maybe you have a hundred things you would rather do.
The secret to becoming a writer is tautological. In order to be a writer, you must write. If you wish you were a writer, yet always find something to do instead of writing, then you may as well wish for a unicorn. Let it go. Be a great runner. Be a great mom. Write great emails. Watch the Superbowl. But if you want to be a writer, you're going to have to write.