There’s No Time to Write!

(or paint or draw or sew or dance or make movies or {insert chosen art or craft here}).

Every book or blog about writing (or any art) will tell you that you have to do it.  Practise.  You can’t be a writer unless you write.  You can’t call yourself a dancer unless you dance, or a musician unless you play.  But in our busy modern world, in the midst of a double-dip recession, who the hell can find time to pursue their arts?

My husband says this to me a lot.

“I need at least three hours,” he’ll say.  “I can’t just write in fifteen minutes a day.”

Toni Morrison wrote her novel, ‘Beloved’, by getting up early in the morning and writing for half and hour or so  at the kitchen table while her family were still asleep.  She made time to write.  JK Rowling wrote in an Edinburgh cafe while her baby was napping in the pushchair.

My husband doesn’t make time to write.  He is a talented screenplay writer.  He is also an enthusiastic potter and actor.  He doesn’t do these things.  He works instead (for which I am very grateful, incidentally.) He works pretty much all the hours God sends, so far as I can see.  I am sorry that the world is missing out on his talent.

You may be the same.  There may be no time spare to carve out in your life.  But let me offer you this story to illustrate my point, which is:

Just because you aren’t writing, it doesn’t mean you aren’t writing.

Two years ago, I went down to Hampshire to visit my mother.  My stepfather was very ill and in hospital, so ostensibly I went down for the weekend to help my mother with the stress, and the nearly two hour round trip to the hospital and back every day.

Whilst I was there, my stepfather died.

My siblings were not able to stop work to support her at this time, so I stayed with her for three weeks, helping her with the paperwork, assisting with organising the funeral, comforting her where I could.

As you can imagine, it was a very busy, stressful and distressing time, but I was extremely glad I was there to share it with her, and to be of help.

A family death is an all-consuming experience.  Grief seeps into your very bones.  You think of nothing else.  But even thought I loved my stepfather very deeply, and mourned him intensely,  I realised that I needed some respite from the pain and the busy-ness.  So in the tiny moments I had alone, in the loo or the shower, at night before sleep, I bathed in the world of my stories.  I wrote.  Maybe I didn’t actiually scribble notes down, but I told the stories I needed to tell myself to keep myself calm and sane.   During those three weeks, I organised, plotted, and even wrote parts of a major story in my mind, a story which became ‘A Case of Resurrection’, which deals with grief (unsurprisingly).  It is a work of which I am still proud, written at one of the most difficult, and probably busiest times in my life.

The purpose of this story is not to pluck your heart-strings, but to say that not only can you write when you are busy, but that when you are, writing can become a life raft, an antidote to stress, a way of expressing your feelings when there may be no other way available.  You might remark that I wasn’t actually writing, but I ask you, in response, to expand your definition.  Writing takes a great deal of planning and long hours of thought, as well as lots of typing.  You write it out on the keyboard eventually,  but first you have to think it.

By all means, put writing time into your busy schedule.  Mark it in your filofax or diary.  Make daily time for it.  No one would advocate that more than I. But consider it in a wider scope.  You can write under any circumstances if you really want and need to.

6 thoughts on “There’s No Time to Write!

    1. evenlode1967 Post author

      Thank you. Sometimes it is important to say the tough stuff, but I think that sharing my personal stories helps in lots of ways.

  1. Pingback: Journal Friday: Outflow – Making Lemonade | evenlodesfriend

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