Once you’ve given yourself permission to write, you’ll realize that’s not enough. Because it’s one thing to say, “Yes, I will write!” and another to do it. You’ve already got a whole life crammed into 24 hours a day, and there are zillions of things vying for your attention. Writing has a lot of competition.
The following is an adapted excerpt from Building a Writing Life: start a writing habit, find time to write, discover your process and commit to your writing dreams available now in paperback and eBook.
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If you’re going to add this new element into your life, you must commit to it by making it a priority. Take a minute, and list everything important to you ranked, and figure out where writing fits. And, for your own sake, be honest. No one will look at this but you so you don’t get any points for listing what you think you should value over what you really do. If your #1 priority is getting to play The Sims twelve hours a week, own that, and then figure out how to work writing around it.
This can be an illuminating exercise but can also be a bit of a killjoy. A lot of us start something new with this idea that our life will just magically make room for it. Time will somehow free up without too much inconvenience to our nice comfortable routine. But that is rarely the reality.
Adding a new element to your life means cutting something else out, or at least back. It means sacrificing something that also ranks high on your list of priorities. Add in that you probably already feel you never have enough time for the things that matter to you and you’ll chafe even more. The happier and more settled you are in the routine you’ve got now, the more you must fight yourself to change it up. And the lower you placed writing on your list, the harder it will be to get it done.
If you want to do this thing, you’ve got to make it a priority. That means sacrificing, turning things down, rethinking what matters to you. Writing is important to you, and now it’s time to make your list of priorities reflect that.