The bane of anyone wanting to write is finding time. I can’t count the number of times people have said to me, “Oh, I would love to write a book, if only I had the time.” Yeah, like those of us who do write have all the time in the world. With anything in this world, if you really want to do something, you will find the time. Write – or watch tv? Write or play outside? Write or visit with friends on the phone? Write or read a book? (Tough one for me as I love to read.) Write or pick lint off your clothes? I must admit, writers are very adept at finding excuses NOT to write.
When I first started writing and working on my desktop publishing business, people would call all the time and ask me to volunteer for things or work at functions or just to talk. I, of course, would say yes. When I became more serious about my “job” as a writer and started saying no, the reaction was: “But you don’t work.” Spoken from those that have never tried to write or finish writing a book of any size. It took a long time for me to say: “I’m working right now, can I call you back.” It took a long time for those same people to understand that writing is my job.
Yes, writers get to stay home. Yes, we can wear our jammies all day if we want (I don’t). Yes, we can take time off when we want to. But…no book written – no money coming in. Writer’s (unless they also have a day job) do not get a weekly paycheck. They do not have health insurance. If they get sick, no one fills in for them.
Those of us who are serious about writing will find the time. If we don’t, our souls tend to shrivel. When my husband and I owned our business and it was tax season, I seriously did not have time to write. At times I would get a little irritated (90 hours a week of work tended to do that). One day an employee (and friend) said to me, “Tina, go home and write this weekend.” I did and was amazed at how much better I felt. It was one of the first times that I realized I NEED TO WRITE.
These past few weeks, with family issues, I haven’t gotten much writing done. I was getting frustrated until I looked back on what I did accomplish. Writing not only involves creating a story on paper. Once the manuscript is done, it needs to be edited, edited and edited again. Then re-write, re-write and re-write again. Asking people to read for you and then waiting for their response takes time. Writing a synopsis (ugh!) and a cover letter takes time. Sending them off to an editor or agent takes time (and nerves).
And once a manuscript is done and edited and sent out, the process starts all over again. Writers can’t wait for a response from an editor. Editors and agents are busy and it takes time to hear back. And just in case they say yes, they want to buy your book, and “oh, by the way, do you have any more done?” the writer needs to be prepared to say, “Why yes, I do, would you like to see them, too?”
At the last conference, when I pitched my book to an editor, she did ask me if I had anymore books done. Sometimes they ask that just to see if you are serious about writing and can actually finish a book. I am in the process right now of editing and re-editing the sixty pages she requested. I will then finish editing the rest of the book and then start editing the next one and the next one after that and….
This week, as I look back and think I didn’t accomplish anything, I realize I sent out the first three chapters and a synopsis to an editor, worked on my brochures for my speeches and have edited the first 60 pages of the requested manuscript. Do I wish I had done more? Yes. Will I try to do more next week? Yes.
So, the next time you ask someone what they do for a living and they say “I write,” think about your response. Will you say “I would love to write, if only I had the time.” Or will you say, ” “Gee, I hear that’s hard work. I’m not sure I could do that.” The writer will thank you for understanding.