As a writer with a day job, I often struggle to find the time to actually write. Sure I spend night and day with ideas and characters swimming around in my head, occasionally keeping me up at night. But the time to actually sit down in front of the blank screen of my laptop and put those ideas on paper, it simply doesn’t exist. Add into that family and friends and forget it. My novel may just stay in my head.
This is how it went for years. My novel sat in my head, sleeping, just waiting for me to find the time. Then I found NaNoWriMo. What a great idea I thought, a way to force myself into putting my ideas on paper (or screen as the case may be). And it was only for a month, so if it didn’t work, no big deal.
Well, it did work. Here I sit, almost four years later, having written two and half novels and numerous short stories, and most importantly having found a group of friends who get it. Every week we MAKE time for writing. We leave our jobs, family, and friends for the night and write. Sure we talk and gossip, but when it comes down to it this diverse group of people is there for one thing, to write. Thanks to this group I now feel like I can truly call myself a writer, my words are on paper. I have written something.
My advice to all of you out there who say, “well, I have all these ideas but when am I going to have time” is to just do it. Find a group, or a space, or anything that motivates you, and write!
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne
‘It may never be good enough’, a refrain that, while keeping me editing, innovating, creating, also causes me deep anxiety, dark moods, and somber dreams of mediocracy. It is this thought that keeps me from moving forward, and pushes me onward when I am burned out and bored. In part, because Hawthorne’s words are not for me alone, they are for us all. Know that in your hard moments, when you can’t lift a foot to move forward, someone else has been there, will be there, and your momentum will come back. The pendulum that is so far from center can’t help but swing you in a new direction.
When the words are silky, the ideas slippery, and the characters thick and sticky, I think I have slid past this marker. And sometimes I do, I have. And sometimes I don’t, because I cringe when I read aloud, or to a friend, or for the thirtieth time, reciting the lines, digesting them and regurgitating them and listening, once again, to their partnership with the preceding and following words. Life is sometimes winning, and sometimes not winning. Don’t use that F word, it’s not a Failure to have to re-write, giving up is Failure. Mistakes, as it happens, make the writing better.
Writing is much like teaching a very young child how to hula hoop. The swing must be in balance, the rotation precise, loose and firm and steady and wobbly, all at once. Wibbly-wobbly, my Whovian son says, just be wibbly-wobbly and the words will flow out and together and, maybe, on into history. To my fellow writers, I say stay wobbly! Let the hard writing be part of the wibbly-wobbly of life, and we will never stop loving the work. ~Andy Lee
(1) Nathaniel Hawthorne. (2016, June 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:47, June 18, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nathaniel_Hawthorne&oldid=723911967