Final Thoughts on Disturbances in your Writing
For the last couple of months we’ve been talking about disturbances in your writing and how to deal with them. We’ve discussed several types of distractions and strategies for each one, and two weeks ago we talked about making the sacrifice in order to have time for your writing. Today I’d like to wrap up the series with some final thoughts on distractions and how to deal with them.
There will always be things distracting you from your writing. We will always have families and friends vying for our attention, and we will always have laundry to do. There’s a good chance that you’ll always have either school or a job getting between you and your writing too. None of us gets to live in a bubble where we can write all day every day–unless perhaps you’re independently wealthy and have maids to cook your meals and wash your clothes.
Still, that’s no excuse for not getting things done. Yes, many of these distractions can’t be avoided altogether, but they can be minimized. As we’ve discussed over the last two months, for every distraction there’s a strategy you can use to get back to work. We must protect our own writing time. Nobody can do that for us. In fact, most people will detract from your writing time–often without realizing what they’re doing.
It’s your job to protect your writing time. This is why I cancelled my plans today. I realized that I’ve let too many things cut into my writing time lately, and that my plans for today weren’t essential. Now that I’m working for DJiZM, I have almost no time for my personal writing projects. This has led me to cut back on my socializing time. I’m still not perfect at protecting my writing time–odds are I never will be–but I get better at it all the time, and that’s the important thing. Slowly but surely I’m cutting away the non-essential things to make more time for my craft.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Commit to minimizing one distraction at a time. You’re not perfect, nobody is. You’re not expected to cut everyone out of your life, and you’re not expected to eradicate all these distractions at the same time. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time.
Most importantly, don’t make it a chore. Writing shouldn’t be a chore. While it’s important to create and defend your writing time, you shouldn’t do this at the expense of your enjoyment of life. Life is too short to be unhappy because of decisions you’ve made. So when you’re asked to do something that cuts into your writing time, ask yourself–in a year, in five years, in ten years, will I regret not being there? Or will I regret not having finished my book?
Don’t allow yourself to live with regret. Do the things that truly matter to you–and if you discover that writing isn’t that high up on the list, that’s fine too. You don’t have to pursue a writing career. You can write occasionally, you can skip the editing and just move on to the next piece–just make sure you’re doing it with the intention of remaining a hobby writer. If you want to make this a career, you will have to make sacrifices.
It’s up to you–and only you–to decide whether or not writing is important enough to make sacrifices are. I’ve decided that my writing is definitely important enough to make sacrifices for. You might decide something different, and that’s fine too.
How much are you willing to sacrifice for your writing career?