I was talking about NaNo with a friend of mine the other day – he decided not to participate “this year” – and another acquaintance of ours joined in. He was surprised that I wrote, then wasn’t. But he did ask an insightful question, even if it is common for those of us with a second, non-writing job.
“Where do you find the time to write a novel too?”
I said, “Usually I write screen plays and they aren’t quite as long.” That was a joke but I don’t think anybody else got it. I then told him, “I ride the train.” ‘Nuff said, that’s 2 hours a day where my choices are limited. He nodded, like that was all there was too it.
Thing is, it isn’t. I used to say that if I rode the train I’d write a novel. Said it for years. Then I started riding the train and after a couple of weeks I actually tried to write a novel. Two days in a row. Then I stopped. Went back to reading and playing games. Did that for over a year.
What I’ve learned is that creative art is something you make time for. The same way you make time for going to DMV or grocery shopping. In the novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” Phillip Dick gives us the idea of kibble – stuff that fills all available space but has no value or purpose. Our schedules fill with kibble, can be over-run by kibble.
I’ve just come off a very nice break, a five day weekend if you will. (An expression I really don’t like but seem to use anyway.) No train. No agenda. Still wrote. It was about showing up. Yesterday I showed up three times, wrote for about an hour each time. Got 2800 words. Day before? Only showed up once. Got about 1k – split it between the blog and the project.
You get what you put in. If you like the idea of writing or the act of writing itself is all you’re after, feel free to show up when you find time. But if you want to actually create something, finish it, then you’ll have to make the time.
And show up. Otherwise the kibble will stifle you.
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