When life gets hectic, getting your creative writing done seems impossible. Inspiration might be knocking, but the house is so full, you’re not sure you can open the door and let it in. How can you keep writing?
What if all you need is sixty seconds?
We all have responsibilities to fulfill and obligations to meet. We’ve got bills to pay, jobs to do, children to care for, and pets to play with. The lawn has to be mowed, garbage taken out, laundry done, dishes cleaned; the list goes on and on and on.
How Do We Find Time for Creative Writing?
Our writing happens when the muse is happily seducing our imaginations — when new worlds magically appear on the page and fictional characters seem more real than some of the people we know in our day-to-day lives.
Creative writing is one of those pursuits that, for many people, is a dream. Like music, dance, acting, and art, it seems unattainable. Like athletics, entrepreneurship, and leadership, it seems meant only for the chosen few. Every day a writer is born. And every day, a writer gives up, overwhelmed by all the things in life that require time, energy, and attention.
Every day, another blog is abandoned, another novel shelved, another poem left unfinished. “I just don’t have time anymore,” a writer says, then deletes a file that was going to be the next great American novel, or crumples up a poem, which would have inspired the next great world leader, and throws it in the trash.
Don’t Give Up
What if J.K. Rowling had given up on her fantastical story? What if George Lucas had given up on his groundbreaking film? What if the Beatles hadn’t taken a chance on that new sound everyone was calling rock and roll? What kind of world would we be living in?
I almost gave up on my creative writing. For several years, I rarely wrote, other than the writing I had to do for work, which was technical or business writing. It was only by sheer luck that the company I worked for closed, forcing me to find some other path, and only by an odd combination of chance, drive, and a willingness to take risks did I return to my writing so that I could sit here years later amazed that now I make (part of) my living doing it.
And I’m willing to take the dream a little further, do a little more. Whether it’s this year, next year, or in five years, the dream is mine, and I’m not giving up on it.
Neither should you.
If you don’t have time to write, then make time.
You don’t have to sit down and write ten pages a day. In five minutes, you can jot down a few paragraphs. In fifteen, you can run off a page. Some days, you’ll get lucky and be able to steal an hour or two. Other days, you’ll have to crunch just to get a couple of minutes.
All that matters is that you keep writing, no matter what.
A Little Tiny Writing Exercise
A few years ago, I came across this website called One Word. It’s one of those sites you save and then forget about but rediscover every few months when you’re cleaning out your bookmarks. Every time I visit, I use it (because it’s interactive), and by the time I leave, which is maybe a minute and a half later, I feel strangely refreshed and revitalized.
One Word gives you just that — one word. Then it gives you something else. It gives you time. You get sixty seconds to write whatever you want, inspired by that single word, that gift.
It doesn’t sound like much, but every time I’ve visited that site and cranked out a minute’s worth of words, I’ve always felt good when I finished, like my right brain just got a little massage and the rest of my body is thanking me for it. And whether it’s been hours or days since I last took time to work on my own creative writing, One Word always reminds me that my passions need to have a priority in my life.
It’s a lot like the way I feel when I hear an inspiring, uplifting speech that motivates and moves me, except at this site, the words aren’t someone else’s; they’re mine. Well, except for that one.
Feed Your Soul
Here’s the thing about creativity: it is food for the soul. It’s the one thing that has a guaranteed return on investment. The more creativity you spend, the better you feel, the more creative you become, and more nourished is your spirit.
People like us need to feed the fire to keep the passion burning. Giving up on your creative writing isn’t an option because if we give up, we dry up. When you feed your right brain, your whole body benefits, and when you feed the fire that is your passion, your whole life and everyone in it reaps the rewards.
So make some time, take some time, to write. Go to OneWord.com and write for just a minute (surely you can spare sixty seconds — how about right now?) or close all those tabs on your browser and open up your word processing software — turn off the computer and pick up your journal — and just write.
And then keep writing.