"When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade."
We've grown up hearing this adage in one form or another. I don't know about you, but I usually did an eye roll or something else inane and immature when someone quoted it to me. Easy for them to say when you're the one getting handed the lemons, right?
With age comes experience (notice I did not say wisdom). Most people have had bad stuff happen in their lives - out of work, end of a relationship, house robbed, car broken down, illness, death of a loved one... the list could go on and on. But what you do after is what counts.
Hence, the lemonade.
Our topic this week is about finding the time to write and how we do it. I mention the lemonade part because that is what I think of writing. No matter what life hands you, you must do something. We are judged not by our thoughts, but by our actions and if the pen truly is mightier than the sword then lots of people will be judged by what they write.
Do you have stories in you waiting to be told? Do you have anxieties and issues bottled deep inside just waiting for an outlet? Do you weave stories of high fantasy, or ones where you picture yourself leading a starship crew, swirling around in your mind? Do you have drunken bouts of amazing beer-pong waiting to be chronicled?
Well? What are you waiting for? Oh, yeah. You have no time to write. Life is busy. I get it.
I need to find a job.
My boyfriend dumped me and I'm plotting his death.
My head hurts.
I think I'm sick.
There's a really cool movie coming on Creature Double Feature. (Sorry, Greg. I couldn't resist)
I have writer's block.
What? "Lazy-ass-itis" is what you have. Don't get me wrong. I feel for you. I truly do. For about five minutes. Here, let me fix you a drink you can cry into.
But do you want to write? Or do you dream about the idea of writing? Someday I'd like to write the Great American Novel. When? When you're retired or dead? I don't know about you, but I plan on traveling a lot when I'm retired. It'd be great to finally see all the places I've read about.
So, that leads us in a backward fashion to finding the time to write. Here's a thought: Get off the Internet. Stop watching TV. Stop answering email from work. Put down the wine glass, slowly... you can do it. Get up early.
There's a great program each November we've mentioned before— National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It shows you that you can indeed write a book in one month, by working at it each and every day. Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem! outlines 1600 words per day, writing for two hours a day, will give you a 50,000-word book at the end of the month.
Can't type that fast or devote two hours per day? Then let's look at it another way:
How about 500 words per day? This post is over 500 words, so it's not a lot when you think about it. If you wrote five days a week, taking the weekends off you'd have the same 50,000 words in 20 weeks. Let's say your goal is a meatier book - in 40 weeks you'd have 100,000 words. (Ooohhh, impressive... C.J. can work a calculator...)
What it comes down to in the end is excuses. What excuses are you giving yourself so that you don't have to work for an hour each day on your dream? Do you think someone's going to hand it to you because you want it bad enough? No. You want it, you go out and get it.
I have lots of time to write all day. Does that mean I write? Lately I've been allowing all my excuses to weigh me down and give me plenty of reasons why I shouldn't be writing for at least two hours a day.
Which is also why I wrote this post, plus five others for various blogs and guest postings, last week. I'm not finding the time to write. I'm making the time to write.
I plan to post my word count each day on Facebook and Twitter.
Who's with me? *she calls in a mighty cheer*
~Que the inspirational orchestra music~
Go after that dream, hunt it down, tackle it and hog-tie it so it doesn't get away. You and your writing are indeed worthy. Stop sabotaging yourself and sit your butt in that chair, dammit, and write. I believe in you.