Writing: When You Don’t Have Time For Dat

Fo Dat

I was never the type of writer who couldn’t get started on a project. I’m the type who can’t stop. Or at least I don’t want to.

Sure, there are times when I don’t feel like writing. You know what I do then? I write anyway. My routine has always been to get up at 5am, get dressed and eat breakfast, and then write until I have to stop to go to work. Most of the time I can’t wait to get to work on my latest novel. There have been times when I actually find it hard to sleep because I can’t wait to wake up and start writing. Sometimes I can’t get my characters to quiet down so I can get some sleep. Sure, sometimes I’m tired in the morning and find it hard to get going, but I do it anyway. Writing time is precious, so I never waste it, no matter how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling tired, sad, overwhelmed, or whatever, I write anyway. I don’t wait for motivation to hit me, I just write when it’s time to write and stop when I’m forced to.

At least that’s the way it used to work.

Right now I’m working a lot of hours at my day job. I have to get to work at 7am, so I can no longer write in the morning like I used to. I feel like a huge chunk of my body has been torn away. It’s a lonely feeling because sometimes I don’t think anybody has any idea of what that feels like. I’m sure there are writers like me out there, but so far I don’t know any. Most of the writers I come into contact with either can’t seem to get motivated to write at all or those who are in a huge hurry to self-publish their books. Some of those in the latter department don’t seem to have much respect for the craft. They just want to be the next “Fifty Shades of Grey” type success story. It doesn’t seem to be about the desire to write for some of these people.

Don’t Let Fifty Shades of Grey Pee in Your Wheaties, Writer Types

At my current job, I basically work 9-12 hours a day with one day off per week. Essentially, I get one day per week where I spend all day writing, but then I can’t touch my work for another week. It’s extremely difficult to write a book this way. During our six days apart, I lose touch with my characters. Sometimes I can’t hear their voices anymore. It’s like trying to read a book for fifteen minutes per week. It takes forever to finish it. You can’t remember where you were or what’s happening in the story. The emotions that you felt while reading the story start to fade. It’s the difference between how you feel after just watching a tearjerker movie vs. how you feel when thinking about the movie a week later. It’s just not the same.

No matter what happens with my writing, I fully expect to work a day job for the rest of my life. That’s a hard truth of the Wannabe life that I accepted a long time ago. Very, very few of us get to do what we love for a living. I’ve accepted that I will just have to do what I love for one hour per day, and then spend eight hours a day doing what I have to do.

So what happens when you take that one hour away from me?

I don’t really feel like myself anymore. Being a writer so much of who I am. It’s not that I hate having a day job. In some ways, I think it’s better to go out and interact with people and experience life rather than being holed up in a writing office all day. Meeting people and living life gives you stuff to write about. I’m okay with having a day job. But I’m not okay with it taking over my life.

I don’t have time to write anymore.

This is not okay.

So now what?

I used to get up at 5am to write. Now I get up at 5am to get to work on time. Maybe I’ll start getting up at 4:30. I don’t know. But I have to fix this. I’ve worked too hard and too long on this dream of mine to let real life get in the way.

What about you? How do you make sure you make time to fulfill your dreams?