I've read a million articles on how to write. The importance of writing every day. People will tell you that you must treat writing like a job and accord it the corresponding importance. You'll see advice about having a dedicated writing space. They'll tell you to devote the same hours every day to writing. There are suggestions about how to explain to your family that they need to respect your craft.
This advice always makes me laugh. As if elementary school children are ever going to respect your craft. As if my house has room for a dedicated writing space. As if I live a life where I have even fifteen minutes I can count on every day.
This blog post is about fitting it in. Making it happen. If you're waiting until you have the perfect office and the respectful family and the four dedicated hours every day, it might never happen. Just write. Anywhere. Any time. Write as if you are running out of time--because we all are, in a way.
I have a full-time job. Two children who play sports and take lessons. A husband who likes to travel. Two dogs. Two parents and two in-laws. A house to clean. Groceries to acquire. Most of you do too, or equivalent things standing in your way. I can assure you that nobody respects my craft.
Yet. I write. I write in the cracks, in the down time, in the waits. I write in my car, the steering wheel supporting my laptop back, in the school pick-up line or while my child runs around a soccer field at practice (yes, I always watch the actual games). I wrote much of one manuscript at their fiddle lessons, inspired to write an Irish bar scene by the jigs they were learning to scratch out while I typed. I get up early on weekends and write before the sun rises and before the house comes to life. Sometimes I steal thirty minutes and write after work, at the end of the day, instead of walking straight out the door when five o'clock comes. I've written thousands of words sweating by the side of the pool while my children swim under the watchful eyes of swim coaches. I've even written in doctors' offices, after the waiting room, sitting on the exam table wearing a paper suit.
Once I even went to work on a weekend to write a racy scene on the theory that it's deeply awkward to do that while kids sneak up behind my armchair at home. Of course, the custodians chose that time to sneak up behind my office chair to clear my trashcan while at work.
The point is, if you're telling yourself you have no time to write--or learn French, or finally get around to reading Anna Karenina, or reconnecting with that high school friend, or whatever it is you're putting off--you may not be entirely correct. The world is full of waits. Use them.
Write. Like you're running out of time.