I came across a journal entry from 2018 recently that made me nod even more fervently than I did when I wrote it.
I’ve cleaned it up and add it below for you to ponder upon.
About using the time you have, now.
I wish, I wish, I wish I had understood this when I was whining about how much my day job got in the way.
When I first started writing, I figured writing full time would let me write all the stories I wanted to write, and I would be happy and never want to write more. I yearned for that freedom.
When I quit my day job in 2015 (as opposed to being pushed from it in 2009), I knew that business matters would demand their share of time.
What I have learned in the three years since is that business matters grow to fill any available time, and that I will never, ever have enough time to write. I will never write all the books I want to write in a single year, or ever.
What I wish my newbie self had understood was that accepting the time you do get to write is the only sane response. I would have picked what I wrote more carefully and strategically, instead of trying everything, like an over-enthusiastic puppy wanting to push her nose into every crevasse (which is one of the major reasons why I spent nearly twenty years with a day job).
Now I know better and I’m learning to use my writing time strategically and pick my priorities.
If you’re still working a day job, you will already be acquainted with the idea of using every spare minute you get to write, or deal with the business of writing. But are you:
- Managing your business affairs so they don’t inflate out of control and steal good writing time?
I usually use the 50/50 rule: Start with allowing 50% of your spare time to be taken up with business matters (editing/cleaning up books, post-production, promotion, administration, etc), and 50% for plotting & writing your books (but not editing or re-writing).
- Writing the right things, not just anything?
Are you writing in the genre you really want to be writing in? I didn’t, for twenty years. I wrote something else instead. It came around to bite me eventually–my sales were self-limiting because my heart wasn’t really in the genre I was writing.
If you only had a year left to write, what would you write? If your answer isn’t what you’re currently writing, it’s probably time you had a re-think.