Writing is never convenient.
It’s an odd fact, but it’s true. Life throws a lot of curves, but there will never be a moment when the most optimal way to spend your time is to imagine things happening and then write them down.* There is always either something more practical you could be doing, or something you’d rather be doing. Painting the kitchen. Making bread. Reading a book. Having sex. Setting the shed on fire.
More than that, there will be a lot of times when writing is damned inconvenient. When you’ve got to get to a meeting, or when the kids are sick, or when that shed fire spreads to your neighbour’s shrubbery.** There are times when you just have to drop it all and take care of this. And before you know it the sun is gone and so is the day, and you just didn’t get to it.
And, for me at least, these are the times when the ideas are coming thick and fast. If I’m running out of inspiration, all I have to do is schedule a day that doesn’t allow me time to sit down and write. I can fucking guarantee that I’ll get a good idea then, because my brain is a fucking douchecanoe.
So, how do you keep it going during the hard times? During the times when it’s not about a lack of inspiration or desire, but about time? About life getting in the fucking way, as it so often does? I am here today to reveal the secret:
You do it.
Yeah, that’s it. Too fucking trite, isn’t it? It feels that way to me, and I just wrote it.*** But truths like that often feel too simple to work. And the first reaction is to say, “Yeah, but…”
Yeah, but, the kitchen needs to get cleaned.
Yeah, but, the kids are awake and I can’t concentrate when they’re around.
Yeah, but, I had a hard day, and I’m just too fucking tired.
I’m not saying these aren’t reasons not to write. I’m just saying that you can work around them. And that if you let shit like that stop you, you’ll never get it done. Reasons not to write are always like fucking cockroaches in a cheap hotel: squash one and another will be along in five seconds. And sometimes it’s hard to ignore them armed with nothing more than desire.
So make deals with yourself. The kitchen will take less time than you think; write after. Stay up an hour later than the kids and jot down a page or two. If you’re tired, go to bed now and get up a little early to scribble while the coffee perks or the kettle boils. Make the time, somewhere.
And, yeah, there will be days it doesn’t work. Days when you are too tired, or you try and it doesn’t work, or the day just plain runs away from you. Sometimes, life really does get in the fucking way.
But when that happens, make a note. And say: tomorrow will be different. And when tomorrow comes, make it different. Get up earlier, go to bed later, write on your lunch break or in the doctor’s office or instead of watching another damn episode of Jersey Shore. Get back on track. Because no one is going to make you do this. And because the world will not stop and give you the time you need.
You’ve got to take it.
*Unless you actually write for a living. But even then, I’m betting there’s a lot of times when other things are more convenient. Anyone care to weigh in?
**It’s been a weird week here in Bare Knuckle Writer Land. Apparently there are people who believe the proper way to take down an old shed is to set it on fire. Give them points for creativity, at least.
*** Maybe if I’d included a metaphor about ninjas and a sewage treatment plant…