If you ask most aspiring writers why they want to be a full-time writer, they will tell you “the freedom.” I suspect that many of them have an image of Hemingway in Havana, hanging out in a smoke-filled bar, drinking and telling stories. The idea of the writing life as “care-free” is widely held, filling the daydreams of every would-be writer while they toil away at some 9-to-5 job. “If only I could write full-time,” they say to themselves, “I’d be free of the bounds of this overly-scheduled existence.”
News flash: if your daydreams sound like that, you haven’t gotten serious — or serious enough — about writing. Serious writing requires serious commitment, and THAT requires serious time management.
I am nowhere near making a living through my writing. But, I have recently split my online presence into three, and now am faced with how to write regularly for all three sites. The only answer is — a schedule.
The political stuff needs attention every day right now, during the election season. In fact, I could probably post twice or three times a day on that site. (And even more often on Twitter and Facebook.)
The writing site, on the other hand, doesn’t need as much content, but it does need a regular schedule. Lection Reflections on Wednesdays, for instance. Regular work on the book blog. And attempt to write a poem a week, even if I don’t keep them.
To keep three sites moving forward, while at the same time working a full-time job and volunteering for campaigns and leading the church orchestra and taking care of things at the house and spending time with Nina and the boys — well, it requires a serious schedule, and a serious commitment to that schedule.
So the next time you — or I — begin to daydream about the writer’s life being free from the clock, let’s be honest and admit that it is just that: a dream. And get back to simply putting one word after another.