I have been thinking a lot about the concept of time and why it always feels like we’re running out of it. There are twenty-four hours everyday. Mind you, most people have to give away at least eight of those hours to work. And we should spend eight of them snoozing. But that leaves at least eight hours to do what we love. Right?
Wrong. Or so it would seem. Most people fill up every hour of their lives with all sorts of activities, obligations and wasteful experiences – me included. In the past I have found ways to fill up every minute of my time and then complain that there just wasn’t enough time to write. The reality is that there is time…if we make it a priority.
A good friend of mine just finished a four novella project. I met her in New York in February 2008 during a writing conference. Since we met, she has written a handful of short stories, two novels and four novellas. She has days where she doesn’t write, but those days are few and far between. Writing is a priority for her. She proves it everyday.
I think that the priority principle is what makes the difference between writers and people who want to write. There is a lot of talk on various blogs and forums about what makes someone a “writer”. Some people won’t call themselves a writer until they have something professionally published. Other people have to rack up certain credentials like a MFA before they consider themselves a real writer. I think the distinction of “writer” has to do with how you use your time.
If you have a great idea that you want to pursue, but you refuse to make time in your life to chase that idea and get it written – you are not yet a writer. You are a regular person. You might be a wonderful person, but you are not a writer. You might have the best idea known to man, but if it never leaves your imagination – what good is it?
On the flip side, if you are someone who carves out time on a regular basis to get something down in writing, whether you have a brilliant idea or not – you my friend are a writer.
But what if they never get published? What if no one reads their stories? These are valid questions. Maybe they will never be considered an author, but they would be considered a writer. And they should introduce themselves at cocktail parties with pride.
I’m a writer. I want to be realistic about the eight hours I have to work with everyday. I will make time in my life for writing. I will not write at the expense of my other commitments and relationships, but I don’t think my stories would ask that of me. However, I can make time for my story too! My stories may not be brilliant, but they will get written down 🙂