The other day, a classmate of mine posted, on Facebook, a tongue-in-cheek note about the kind of book he wanted to write. A marketing major, he naturally worked backwards from the market to arrive at the book. The market had to be large yet differentiated, because “if you talk to a large primary market, if even a fraction of it swallows it, you would be famous.” A thousand words later, he had arrived at the title of the book- all that remained was to write it, and encash the royalty cheques.
I had only eight words to say – “Fantastic! Now write the book- I’ll read it.”
To which he responded, “ :) ah, with a day job…. will try.”
He is right – a day job is not exactly conducive to writing. But if you want to write, you can always write. I have a day job. I also have two kids. My day did not have enough hours for writing, and I put my writerly ambitions on hold, perhaps indefinitely. But one fine day, I decided I wanted to start writing now, and I was able to make time for it. I know at least half a dozen people who write, and all of them either have a day job, or a couple of kids, often both. If they can find time to write, so any practically anyone else.
I write on the train during my daily commute. One writes in her bath at night. Another carries pen and paper wherever she can grab any free moment to write. The point is that if you want to write, you can make time to write. Which is why I immediately sent him this mail -
After years of not having time to do all the things I wanted, I've figured out there is only one way to get writing. WRITE!Yes, just that, write. Write something everyday. Either set yourself a word target (it could be something like 250 words, which is very doable), or a time slot when you shut out everything and write. I've found the word target easier to do than the time one - because you can write anywhere (most of my writing is on the local train) once you learn to shut the world out and do that.When you start, you will be disappointed with almost everything you write, but that's the way it always is in the beginning. In a couple of weeks, you'll find it comes effortlessly, and then you can start putting it in some kind of order.Try it! And if it works, be sure to mention me in the acknowledgements!
I know I am a bad example to take. I can write on the computer and I can write with pen and paper. In a pinch, I can even write in my mind, and transcribe later. Which effectively means that, as long as I can block out my surroundings, I can write anywhere and anytime. If, that is, I choose to.
There are days when I don’t feel like writing, but that is where the discipline of a blog comes in. If nothing else, I force myself to write 250 words as a blog post.
What about you? Have any of you consistently cited Time (or the lack of it) as a reason not to write? Do you know anyone else who did? How did you overcome it? Would you give similar advice to a friend who you know can write?