This blog post could alternately be titled: Why I Don’t Write Every Day. I know, I know. Writers are supposed to write every day. Most books on writing, writing teachers and even other writers will tell you to write every day. Write when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Pick a time, preferably the same time every day (to train your muse as to when to show up), and just do it. Well, I’ve tried, and dammit, I give up. I’m tired of trying, and failing, to find enough time in the day. I’m embracing my inner lazy person and letting it go. I’m officially letting myself off the hook. No guilt.
What prompted this revamping of my schedule is a post on Facebook. (Facebook is a major time-waster that should probably be re-prioritized by many of you, myself included, though it did inspire this blog.) Anyway, here’s the post.
1. Make a list of the things that make you happy.
2. Make a list of things you do every day.
3. Compare the lists.
4. Adjust accordingly.
Brilliant. And so simple. I’m sure my cousin, who originally shared this basic wisdom, will be pleased to know I’ve taken it to heart.
So, what makes me happy these days? Taking care of myself. Being and staying healthy. As a result, I’ve decided my time at the gym or time doing yoga is time well spent. I also really enjoy walking Frankie. Which is fortunate because he really needs to be walked once, sometimes twice daily. It’s usually an hour long affair with several stops in the shade where I can listen to the birds and think of nothing while he pees and then kicks, pees and kicks, pees and kicks in the grass to his heart’s content. See, it makes him happy too. So, it’s a win-win. And lastly, I love being involved in a good book. So, reading makes my list. Oh! And I almost forgot – Mom! (How could I forget with the coming Mother’s Day weekend?) We really do have fun together when she’s not driving me crazy. (Sorry, I know that’s kind of a back-handed compliment.) So, there’s my happy list. Taking care of my health. Walking Frankie. Reading. Spending time with Mom.
And I’ve been making adjustments, or re-prioritizing, based on my list. Like last week, I dropped everything to sit on my deck and enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having in Jacksonville while reading a book. Or before that, I left dirty dishes in the sink and, still in my pajamas well after noon, went out back to sit by the pool with Mom. The choices are easier. Dirty dishes? Getting showered and dressed? Hey, not on the list.
You’ll notice writing didn’t make the list. Not that it doesn’t make me happy … Well, wait. Who am I kidding? Show me the writer who joyfully sits down to write every day and I’ll show you a writer with an open bottle of scotch on the ready and a drinking problem. For most of us, it’s torture. The idea of being a writer makes me happy. The idea of writing every day? Not so much. There’s a difference.
I’ve decided to look at it like author Patricia Cornwell, who advised, “Treat your writing like a relationship, and not a job.” I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’ve been punching a clock. And, hey, if that works for you and makes you happy – then punch away. There just aren’t enough hours in my day. If I view it as a relationship, it becomes less like work and more about maintaining that connection. I’ll always come back to it. I’d miss it.
I’ll even take it one step further. My writing is like a marriage. I’m ready to make that serious commitment. To vow that writing will always be a part of my life. Just not my daily life. It’s like my husband lives out of state. Or we have separate houses. But we talk often.