Writers’ Time Management and Kindness to Strangers

What’s the best way to get time to write?

I believe that you do so by treating yourself with as much caring and respect as you’d offer a total stranger.

Here’s the scenario. You’re waiting for an appointment, and a woman beside you has struck up a conversation. “What do you do?” she asks.

You’ve been practicing the answer, so you don’t hesitate or apologize: “I’m a writer.”

“How wonderful,” she says. “I so admire you. I’ve always longed to be a writer, but I can never get the time to do it. There are just so many things in life you have to do first.”

“That’s true,” you say. “You’ve got to really want to write…”

“Oh, I want to,” she says. “My life doesn’t want me to, but I do.”

“There’s a time for everything,” you say. “You’ll find the time now or someday. Don’t worry.”

Notice that you didn’t tell that woman that she was wasting too much time, ask her whether she was lazy or maybe just untalented or easily distracted or addicted to television or internet surfing—all things that we accuse ourselves of being.  Relax and look for the hour for yourself. We’ve all got them at least once or twice a week: in a coffee shop, in a library. While everybody’s watching a movie.

You can write about a thousand words in a quiet hour.  You can outline in a noisy ten minutes anywhere, if you bring a notebook, so that those thousand words will move the plot forward.

And if you can’t find time for a thousand words, maybe you do five hundred. And you know what? If you can’t do that this month or next, it’s okay. It’s just fine. You will do it someday. And your work will be wonderful because dreaming is good. Loving the thought of being a writer is fantastic training for loving writing.

 

One thought on “Writers’ Time Management and Kindness to Strangers

  1. Oh, my. I was overwhelmed by the simplicity and generosity in these words. I am a writer, but not the writer I want to be or feel I could or should be, and I beat myself up for that all the time, and for not being more focused and disciplined. So many writing tips make me feel guilty for not writing more.
    But this —
    “And if you can’t find time for a thousand words, maybe you do five hundred. And you know what? If you can’t do that this month or next, it’s okay. It’s just fine. You will do it someday. And your work will be wonderful because dreaming is good. Loving the thought of being a writer is fantastic training for loving writing.”
    So lovely. Thank you. Thank you. You make me want to write. Thank you again.

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