@GailSimone just went on a twitter rant I can get behind. Who has the time to write?
That’s the question we often face for those of us who make the time, and talk about our craft. Inevitably there is someone out there who is looking at their life, and doesn’t see all of the time they actually have.
Here is a myth I bought into, if I could just get everything sorted out I would have more time. If everything in my life where on track, it would be easy.
Except this year, my life imploded. You can haunt back through the archives of the blog and read the posts, and you can see it and feel it, where the spikes and lows are.
Here is another myth I bought into, that in grief I would find solace in writing. I would turn into a mad writer, who created brilliant work.
This too is not true. Both of those myths are a fallacy. Neither of them make writing easier or a thing that is more obtainable. I’ve had things far easier, and wrote, and I’ve had things be tough, and wrote.
This year felt very much like my life imploding. I threw myself at my writing like it was a life preserver on a stormy sea. Every time things got hard, I looked for solace in the one area that was still mine and belonged to me. I focused on my long term goals.
That doesn’t mean that it was easy. It was fucking hard.
Writing when life is hard, is fucking tough. They romanticize what J.K. Rowling went through, in a few lines, a summary. But the truth, sitting in those trenches, and those emotions tearing down around you like bullets you have no control over, and all you want to do is get to the other side. But what you need to do is tune the sound of gunfire out, lower your head, and focus, and tunnel your way out, one word at a time.
Eventually I learned how to channel that gunfire. Those feelings of hopelessness, I wrote them into my novel. I gifted them to my character. Sounds romantic, sounds easy. It wasn’t. It was anything but. But I did it.
I threw myself at my novel, teeth bared, and got through it with stubborn determination.
This year, has been hard. But at the end of it, I have my novel. I have this thing, I did all for myself. And I am so fucking proud of myself.
So when someone uses how hard there life is, or that they don’t have the time as the reason they don’t write, I know, that it is partly those things. That they can’t see their way through them. But I also know that underneath all of that, they don’t want it the same way. They don’t have that desperate yearning for change, and control in their life.
Time is precious, and we get caught in the loop of spending it halfheartedly. We watch TV we don’t need to, scroll through endless amounts of Facebook, or whatever internet distraction. We fill our lives with distractions. I know, I’ve done it. I still do it. But when you’re really focused, you put all of those things aside, and your writing comes first. That’s how you do it. You put aside the meaningless, you make sacrifices, you rearrange. You find the time.
I went to an author event, and it turned out that most of them where sorted into Slytherin. Maggie Stiefvater who I adore is a proud declarant of house Slytherin. I’ve always had a sort of aversion to house Slytherin because of the bad rep they received in the books/movies. But then when I took my sorting had quiz the second time around, and every other quiz since then, I am house Slytherin.
Per the sorting hat:
“Those cunning folk use any means, to achieve their ends”
And that right there is what you need to be a writer. You have to have a lot of stubborn determination, and some Slytherin in you, to make it across that finish line.
It’s not about having the time, it’s about having the want.