Wednesday, September 7, 2016

IWSG - September 2016

www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com
The Insecure Writers Support Group posts the first Wednesday of the month. It is a place where writers can write about their insecurities without feeling threatened. If you're reading this as a writer and have any insecurities about your writing, join us. Every month we have a new question to answer. This month's question is:


HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO WRITE IN YOUR BUSY DAY?

For as long as I can remember I have been in a race with time. Starting with high school activities, on to college and part-time work, and finally a full-time job and family. I used a pocket calendar to schedule my time until I discovered the helpful features of a Day-Timer. Later, I moved on to an electronic calendar. Those scheduling tools helped keep me on track through the busiest years of my life. 

When I left the workforce, I gave up keeping track of every minute of my day. I had plenty of extra time so why would I need a schedule? If I didn't get around to doing something I had planned to do, no problem. I'd just do it tomorrow. 

I blinked and suddenly another year had passed. For decades I had been too busy with life to write. I'd finally found the time and let the opportunity slip from my grasp. All those stories I had planned to write when I had the time were still unwritten. If I were allowed a do-over, I would write something every day. 

But all is not lost. What is it they say? The best time to plant an Oak tree was twenty years ago; the second best time is today. 

The past few months I've developed a routine. I get up, grab a cup of coffee and settle down to write for at least an hour every morning. Sometimes that hour turns into two or three. Occasionally I'll miss a day, but not very often. It takes most people about 21 days to form a new habit. Now that mine is established, my day doesn't feel right unless I write something. 

For me, the secret was not trying to find the time to write--it was taking or making the time to write. Even if it is only a paragraph; even if it is only a sentence; I am planting my "Oak trees" and sentence-by-sentence, day-by-day, I watch them grow.


19 comments:

  1. Love that oak tree saying. So true. I wonder if I could live without sugar for 21 days? Must try that sometime ... later. Hopefully getting back into writing will be much easier and more enjoyable now that my kids are back in school.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've always loved that oak tree quote and have used it to give myself a little push on more than one occasion over the years. I'm embarrassed to have wasted so much of my retirement time "vegetating." I've been looking forward to having the time to write for years and now I need to quit procrastinating. Maybe it's the fear of failure instead of lack of time that has kept me putting it off until I "had the time."

    ReplyDelete
  3. You figured it out in time. Don't worry about those lost hours. Focus on your schedule and what you can write now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Alex. IWSG has been a big help in overcoming my fear of failure. I am so grateful I found this group. Many thanks to you for recognizing the need and creating a place where writers like me can share our insecurities with others who understand.

      Delete
  4. Starting anytime is good. I, too, love that oak tree quote. Here's to looking back at what you're doing now and saying, "I'm so glad I started that."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I just needed a little confidence to get going. IWSG has helped a lot in that respect. Finding like-minded individuals to share the writing life with is very encouraging.

      Delete
  5. Starting anytime is good. I, too, love that oak tree quote. Here's to looking back at what you're doing now and saying, "I'm so glad I started that."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad I got back in the routine of writing almost every day. I think being able to see results is the best incentive to continuing a new habit.

      Delete
  6. Just popped over from Stephanie Faris' site. I like your Oak tree analogy . . . start today. Congrats on forming a habit of writing every day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Gail. So far, it is working for me.

      Delete
  7. That's so true. And once it becomes a habit, it's easy to keep doing it.

    (And, I'm sorry to say the 21 day thing is a myth. I read an article on that a while back. Turns out it can take up to eight months to develop a habit, depending. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/forming-new-habits_b_5104807.html)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eight months! I haven't seen that. Oh well, I guess I only have a couple of months to go. It seems to be working though. I try not to think about it; I just do it.

      Delete
  8. Yep, no time like the present! Isn't it ironic how fast time passes when you thought you'd have so much more? Thanks for sharing the lovely Oak tree analogy and the reminder to live (and write) in the present!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awesome that you were able to develop that new habit/routine. Here's to lots more writing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have a great routine. I had a period of time in which I barely wrote for about a year and a half. This was years ago. I got my butt into gear writing here and there, and mostly on days off.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I LOVE this! And I love that you're writing. This was what you've always wanted to do, so it's time to enjoy every minute of it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. About 3 years ago I started tracking my writing time so I know how long I spend on each project. It doesn't change anything in terms of speed but it does make me feel more accountable.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier this week!
    Yvonne V

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think it is wonderful that you are able to write every morning. That is my favorite time to write- but I don't always have time before I go to work. One day! :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm glad you found your writing routine; it's something to hold on to when life wants to get in the way. Happy writing :-)

    ReplyDelete