Updated: Mar 20
One great struggle for any writer is time. Time to write, time to read, time to do anything. If you have a full-time job like me, time is an ever present adversary. You have the demands of your job, especially if you are in management as I am. You have bosses whose expectations are extremely high, with these expectations sometimes bordering on the unreasonable.
Some of you may even have a family which is also and just as equally demanding. Kids screaming, lunches need to be made, carpools and bus schedules have to be worked out. Things like Little Timmy going pee in his pants two minutes before you had to walk out the door to get everyone to the bus stop. Then when everyone is out the door, you look at your house, fall back on the door seeing the chaos left in the wake of hurricane Family and just want to flip a table.
Your days are consumed trying to balance work, family, free time, all of it. We all feel the crunch, regardless if you are a writer or not and it can be overwhelming. I can’t say there is an easy solution, we live in a high demand, fast paced society. Life tugs, pulls and screams for every single moment of our lives, demanding and taking whatever it can get from us. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I don’t care, get it done,” or “Stop making excuses, it’s your problem, not mine.”
You want to scream don’t you? Trust me I know I do and while I can go into an entire tirade about work, I won’t. In the end, somehow, you just have to make the time. It’s easier said than done and at first glance seems impossible, but there are always solutions. For those of you with families, I think I’m getting looked at as if I were insane, (but that’s what grandmas are for).
Most of you might laugh, but Subway has become my office. Everyone here knows me by name, and even knows the sandwich I am going to buy. I drive here as often as I can because strangely, it’s the best place I have found to focus on my work. It’s almost like a second job (without pay).
But to get to this point I’ve had to look long and hard at what I do and how I spend my time. I’ve had to work out how to schedule time with friends and family, so I don’t become that guy from last week’s post (because it’s very easy to do). But then you have to ask, what I have I given up?
Well, to be honest, the things I sacrificed were honestly nothing more than distractions in the first place. I cut back on my video game time, I schedule nights with friends and limit myself to a maximum of two outings a week. I don’t watch T.V., I know I’ve suddenly lost some of you but hang in there, I have DVR so I pick which shows to watch when time allows between writing and my primary job.
I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchy Roll and Funimation (for you anime fans), but all of this is prerecorded stuff, so I can schedule time to watch an episode or two and go back to what I need to be doing. The thing I have learned the most is often, what we prioritize is not nearly as important as we think. In the end, we have to decide how much of our time are we willing to give to the things that don’t matter so we can focus on the things that do.
Sure, I have spent as much as eight hours sitting at subway working on my craft. But if I took those eight hours and transitioned it into my old habits, which is more productive? Even if you only have an honest hour, find ways to make that hour the most important hour of your life, you’ll find it probably the most rewarding experience you’ve ever had. Before long you might find another to accompany it.