Stop Waiting, Start Writing iPhone with You Can End of Story text, on pile of journals
Stop Waiting, Start Writing

Recently a woman DM’d me on Instagram to thank me for one of my blog posts, where I talk about how to find more time to write. (I also have a free PDF guide called 30 New Ways to Find More Time to Write and that’s what she was specifically referring to.)

In her message, she said she loved the tips I shared and was going to put them into practice, but her husband was in a busy period at work right now so she was providing more support at home and would wait until that period was over.

Um, okay.

I have to be honest though — I didn’t really believe her. (Sorry, Megan!)

Stop Waiting, Start Writing

I get it: life is busy! We all have periods in our lives where it feels like we’ve been holding a dozen large oranges in our arms and someone’s just tossed us two more. I soooo get it.

But I also think there’s a dangerous kind of thinking we fall into as writers, and it can look a little like this…

I want to set up my writing desk in the spare bedroom, but things are busy right now so I’ll just wait until things calm down.

I want to set myself up to write consistently, but I don’t have a really good idea for anything to work on right now, so I’ll just wait.

I want to finish my book, but there’s a global pandemic so I’ll just wait until that’s over.

I want to finish my book, but things are kinda politically nutso right now, so I’ll wait until things calm down.

Stop Waiting, Start Writing

Look, I’m not saying there aren’t times when you just need a Hall Pass. If your loved ones are sick and you’re busy caring for them, or you’ve got major surgery this week, maybe de-prioritizing your writing sessions for a while to give yourself a breather may make sense.

And I completely understand how the pandemic and political upheaval can have an impact on our ability to be as cheery and productive in the world than we’d otherwise like. After last week’s attack on the Capitol in the US, I spent Saturday napping in between Murder, She Wrote re-runs because I was just DONE and needed a rest much more urgently than I needed a few more pages in my novel just then.

In my experience, most women won’t take a break and will run themselves into the ground trying to be all things to all people all of the time. So if you need a Hall Pass, take a Hall Pass.

But I’m not talking here about missing one writing session, or even a week’s worth of writing sessions, so that you can take care of yourself and rejuvenate.

I’m talking about putting off developing a consistent writing routine, or finishing your latest writing project, for weeks or months (do I hear years??) on end.

Stop Waiting, Start Writing

We’re waiting.

We’re waiting for the world to not be so unfair…even though we know that injustice has been around since there’s been more than one human on the planet, and will still be here next week in some form or another. We’re not going to fix systemic injustices overnight, so learning to live our lives as the work continues is what we need to do.

We’re waiting for this damn pandemic to end…even though we know that it may be 9 months or a year or even longer until everyone is fully vaccinated and life goes back to what we used to call “normal” AND we know some writers write entire books (or multiple books) in that time frame. 

We’re waiting for our lives to just be less busy…even though we know, deep in our heart of hearts, that we are ultimately the ones with a great deal of control over exactly how busy things get. (And if you really think that you have no control over your life, you're giving all your power and agency away. For reasons that reach beyond writing, I think you should stop doing that.)

We’re waiting for life not to be so hard…even though we know that today it’s Zoom-schooling and last month it was the holidays, and before that it was a really busy period at work, and before that it was hurricane season, and before that…

We’re waiting to feel like a “Real Writer”…even though that we know all it actually takes to feel like a writer is to sit down and write.

We’re waiting for the ending of our book to become perfectly clear to us…even though we know that the ending flows from the middle which flows from the beginning, which ultimately means we just have to start.

We’re waiting to not feel so distracted by social media…even though we know our phones have airplane mode and it’s possible to turn off the wifi on every computer or just write with a notebook.

We’re waiting for the kids to grow up a bit…even though we know that watching adults reach for their dreams is an important life lesson our kids need to experience.

We’re waiting because we feel inadequate and unworthy…even though we know that a) that is some serious bullhooey, and b) claiming and reclaiming our creative lives is the path to true wellbeing.

We’re waiting because we’ve got a couple of medical appointments later this week…even though we know that we can fit our writing times in and around other things happening in our lives.

We’re waiting until the house is clean…even though we know we can’t write with a damn broom in our hands.

We’re waiting to not inconvenience our family…even though we know that we’re frankly not as cranky when we’re writing consistently.

We’re waiting to feel like we know what we’re doing…even though we know the only way to learn how to write IS to write.

We’re waiting to “find our voice”…even though we know we develop our voice through writing.

We’re waiting because we don’t want our beautiful book idea to turn out to be mediocre…even though we know we can’t edit a blank page.

We’re waiting to not feel like an imposter, because we haven’t published anything yet…even though we know that we can’t publish what we haven’t yet written.

Stop Waiting, Start Writing

Why are YOU waiting?

And is your reason real and true, or do you need to pull up your big-girl panties and solve whatever stands between you and the writing life you dream of? (Even if — especially if — part of what stands in your way is your own thinking?)

I don’t want you to wait. I want you to find a way to build writing into your weekly routine so that it provides sustenance and sanctuary for you in hard times, as well as in easier times. 

I want you to finish that book and get it out into the world to find the readers who need it.

I want you to feel the profound sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from pursuing the creative life you’ve always dreamed of.

The world needs more books, and it also needs writers living a creative life as they write those books.

Stop waiting, start writing. TODAY.

 

**If you’d like to use my Writer’s Weekly Planner to help guide you through how to plan your writing week and set up both Long Time and Short Time writing sessions, you can get your free copy right here.

What are you waiting for?