Time to Write
Last night I woke up at 3:30 AM in a panic.
“I’m never going to finish my memoir!” I thought. Toss, turn, fluff the pillow.
“I’m never going make money as a writer.” Toss, kick, throw off the blanket.
“I’m never going to be able to pay back my student loans.” Flip onto stomach, flip onto back, look for the blanket.
This scenario repeated itself until 6:30 AM. Three hours of anxiety. Three hours I could have spent writing my memoir!
My mantra for the past three months has been, “I never have time to write.” My mentors and colleagues preach that I must “make” time. Some days I chisel out a few writing hours, but most of those days the precious hours evaporate without a word added to my half-written manuscript. There is the seduction of dirty laundry, unmade beds, unwashed floors, unclean bathrooms. There is the friend I haven’t spoken to in over a year that I need to call right now. There is the call I owe my mother from a week ago. There are the family vacation arrangements for 2016. There are “thank you” cards to write from my son’s birthday party four months ago, grocery shopping because I used the last egg three days ago. I need to make yet another phone call to the IRS to clear up their dumb mistake. I have a dentist appointment I already rescheduled twice. I promised to do volunteer work at the middle-school. I must buy a shower present for someone I don’t even really know. And yes, let’s not forget those flowers that need watering that are probably already dead from neglect. Last but not least, there are all those Facebook posts I need to “like” and all those quizzes I need to take.
The plain truth is, I don’t have any time for writing because I think of writing as another job I have to do. However, if I tell myself, I can quit writing that feels like I’m telling myself I can quit breathing. There is no quitting. I have to do it. But when?
Danie Ware, author of the science fiction story Echo Rising, wrote an article for Writer’s Digest. She gave tips on how moms, and everyone else can find time to write. One of her suggestions was to master the art of “snap-writing.” She says, if you only have twenty minutes between jobs, it is all time, and it all matters. Use it.
So tonight when I wake up at 3:30 in the morning, instead of contemplating my dismal future, while rolling around, and punching my pillow; I will sit up and be thankful. I will be thankful that I have three silent hours to write. I will walk downstairs to my office, turn on the computer, and start typing. When 6:30 comes around, I will have several pages written. I can then move along to pressing matters like filling empty sock drawers, buying belated birthday gifts, and answering ten questions that will determine what classic movie my life represents—perhaps, Groundhog Day.
Andrea Tate is a monthly blogger for Lunch Ticket. She has been published in Role/Reboot, A Daily Dose of Lit, Bleed, Odyssey, and Acorn. Her story “You” was published in the 2013 anthology for Extracts. Andrea has served as a Creative Nonfiction Editor and Assistant Editor for Lunch Ticket. This year she will teach the online course for AULA Let’s Get Personal—How to Write a Personal Essay. An advocate for theatre arts, Andrea directs as well as teaches after-school enrichment in the greater Los Angeles area. Email her at andreatate(at)me.com
after-school enrichment in the greater Los Angeles area. Email her at andreatate(at)me.com