There’s a mythical tale about the writer who wrote, uninterrupted, day after day after day. The world outside stayed away, society kept at bay, and the writer wrote what he may. Inspiration struck, which was always his luck, and nothing he ever wrote sucked.
That’s not the real world. If you’re a writer waiting to only write when afforded uninterrupted time, I’ve got some harsh words for you: you will either never write, or you will never truly live.
For example … My daughter had some friends over tonight to watch a movie. During that time, my wife spent special time with our youngest child. Between getting drinks, making popcorn, checking in, etc., I edited my latest work. Did I have to stop every so often? You bet. At this very moment, I’m the only one awake in my house. It’s eleven at night. I wanted to write this article today. But, I wanted to first edit that other piece as well. So here I am.
My point is, writing is like regular exercise. You have to be committed to it, you have to want to do it, and you have to fit it in wherever your schedule allows. It’s rare that I get more than thirty minutes uninterrupted at a time when home. Sometimes I piecemeal a simple story or article throughout the course of an entire day. Ten minutes here, five minutes there–it adds up. Is that ideal? No, of course not.
But for me, the ideal is being an engaged father, an attentive husband, a good friend, and an active participant in this thing called life. I will never sacrifice those things for uninterrupted writing time.
Maybe if I ever hit it big time and could afford to stay home and write while my kids were at school, maybe then I could get those large chunks of uninterrupted writing time, but I enjoy working full-time. My career as a high school English teacher fulfills me deeply, and it allows me to immerse myself in many different points of view and walks of life. I feel as though working in a public school grants me the privilege of understanding the entire scope of modern day society.
I’ve been more productive in terms of writing these last two years than ever before, and I’ve also been at my busiest. I work my writing in whenever I can. It isn’t always pretty, and it’s usually never uninterrupted, but it happens because I want it to.
That’s the crux of what I want to say: writers must want to write. Regularly. Faithfully. Even zealously. It’s work. It’s fun work, to be sure, but it’s work.
So, please, don’t fall prey to the myth. Stop waiting for the perfect time to write and just start writing.
Get to work.
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)