When Life Gets in the Way

Sept. '14 Scoutie Girl IMG_0953

For the past two or three weeks life has been getting in the way of my writing. It’s frustrating. Every morning I wake up bursting with ideas. But these past weeks the reality of getting my classes ready for a new semester were eating into my writing time.

For a while I let the tasks at hand get in my way, and I allowed myself to get frustrated by the lack of time to do my creative work. Then Mastin Kipp, bless his soul, posted a quote on his blog from Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. I was reminded that if I want to be a “professional” as opposed to an “amateur” writer, I have to find a way to write every day no matter what obstacles life throws at me.

Too often I allow life to block my writing. When I was in the throws of finishing the first draft of my first novel, The Space Between Time, it was easy to make writing a priority. It was exciting. I wanted to find out what was going to happen to the characters and how the story was going to end. When I finished the first draft, I was ecstatic. I began the revisions right away. It was still fun. By the end of my third revision, I was getting antsy. I wanted feedback. I wanted to get it edited and published. I wanted to move on to the next book.

The thing is, it isn’t ready for publication. Only the fact that I want to make sure it’s my best work keeps me from rushing the process. I had to admit to myself that I was getting bored. I don’t want to rehash the old story, I want to move onto the continuation in the sequel. But the process is the process, and you can’t rush the steps or the cake doesn’t turn out right, there is nothing but weeds in the garden, the pot collapses on the wheel, or the dance is awkward.

So, since Mastin reminded me that I’ve committed to being a professional writer, that’s the first thing I do when my work day begins. I have a morning routine that I complete first, but at 9:00 a.m. I’m in my office writing first, checking on my students, lesson planning, and social networking after that.

I’m sure there will be other times when life will try to get in my way, but I’m committed to doing some writing every day, even if it’s only for half and hour. If I write for thirty minutes every day, that’s nine-hundred minutes in a month, if I’ve done the math right. I can do a lot of writing in that amount of time. And over a year that’s over ten-thousand minutes. Wow. That’s a lot of creative time I can use or abuse.

What can you do with ten-thousand minutes?

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