When I was a college student I got to view firsthand the writing and reading habits of my fellow students. One thing that I discovered is that a lot of students who aspired to be published writers were just not interested in doing the work. Many of them were talented. It’s possible that many of them could have succeeded in achieving their dream but they didn’t want to knuckle down and write every day. They were waiting for their muse to strike, or ever worse, waiting until they “had enough time”.
The truth is that 1) most people have more time than they think, and 2) if you wait until you “have enough time” you’ll find that the window of opportunity has passed you by.
Before I had a baby I thought that I was a pretty busy person. Then I discovered that having a child means that there is basically a 24-hour demand on your time, and that if you don’t make a concerted effort to carve out a window for yourself you’ll never have the opportunity to do all those things you say you don’t have the time to do.
When my son turned 1 I decided to run a half-marathon for the first time. I liked it so much (crazy, right?) that I decided to run a marathon the following year. I got up early in the morning and ran when it was still dark out so that I could get my mileage in before my husband went to work. I ran when it was cold and when it was rainy. I ran when the wind was howling off Lake Michigan and blowing me sideways. I ran on some miserably humid days in August and I ran when I just didn’t feel like running at all, but I always put in the time and the distance necessary to prepare me for the marathon.
The discipline of running translated into my writing. I realized if I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a novelist I had to write every day. And that meant writing, not fiddling with and rewriting earlier pages and never getting to the end of the book. I made an appointment with myself to move forward with Black Wings every day while my son took a nap and essentially ended up writing the entire book in a month and a half.
And like running the marathon, I realized that once I did it I could do it again. I’ve since run a total of two marathons, ten half-marathons, 4 10-milers and an assortment of shorter race distances. I’ve also written the sequel to Black Wings and started working on the third novel in the series. If you really, really want to be a writer, or a marathoner, or anything else, you can do it if you want to make the time.