Last week, Lisa gave some advice on getting published. She said, and I quote, “Write the best book you can.” This seems pretty straightforward, but Lisa also mentioned how many of the people asking her for publishing advice had yet to write their book.
And this got me thinking. About time. About effort. About the amount of energy and dedication and utmost perseverance that is necessary to write a novel.
When I tell someone that I write in addition to my day job, they often say something along the lines of: “Oh that’s so nice. I would love to do that. I wish I had the time.” I usually feel like responding with: “You do have the time, you are just using it to do something else.” And that’s totally acceptable. You should absolutely fill your spare time with the people, places and things that you love. But if you say you’d love to publish a book, and then never find the time to write it, perhaps the hard truth is that you don’t really want to write.
Now let’s say you do want to write. There are stories inside of you and you feel you will not be yourself until they are shared. You are willing and ready to carve out the time. Well I have some advice: Start. Just start.
You will never, ever reach your dreams of publication if you don’t sit down and write the darn book. It is the only place to begin. And sometimes starting can be scary. I understand that the idea may not be fully formed, that it is mostly in your head, wild and unruly. I understand that you’re still working out the details and right now the plot seems overwhelming. And above all, I understand that you are busy with a million other obligations. But if you want to write – if you want to be published – you have to start. Right now. Don’t put it off any longer, because trust me, it will never be the right time.
This is not depressing. It is simply the truth. You will always be finishing school, or starting a new job, or getting married, or moving, or having a kid, or going back to school, or having a second kid, or visiting family, or buying a house, or moving again. All of these are wonderful things, and even when you plan for them, they require time and energy. Some you may not plan for at all, and they will happen nonetheless.
My point is that life will constantly throw you curveballs. There will never be that perfect moment when you sit down and a sign flashes before of you saying, “Begin novel now!”
So just do it. Start. Carve out the time. An hour here, an hour there. You don’t have to pull all-nighters, although I’m pretty sure you occasionally will. Write on your lunch break. Wake up an hour earlier. If your commute involves a train of some sort, take the laptop with you. Brainstorm while you drive. Nothing makes you focus more than a hard time frame and you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish when working against the clock.
If writing is your dream, your passion, you will find the time. You will make it and then you will use it wisely. Because only you are in control of how you spend the time you carve out of your busy day. Only you are in control of your dreams.
Finding the time to write is a constant balancing act. So go find that balance, start writing and don’t stop!