Today’s guest post is Dianna Gunn! Welcome her, and I hope you all enjoy.
Most writers don’t get to do it full time, especially novelists. Life is demanding and at any given point throughout the years we are asked to wear many hats: student, worker, writer, caregiver, friend, lover—some combination of these hats is always demanded of us, and while all of them are worthwhile it can be exhausting. When 40 or 50—sometimes more—hours of your week are demanded by other people, it’s hard to find time for personal projects.
The key is to never give up and to know that even fifteen minutes here and there can make a big difference. One blog post a week can be enough if you make it a powerful post. One page a day becomes a decent sized novel before the year is up. Every small action adds up eventually, and that is the key thing you have to remember.
Why is this so important? Because no matter what you have to do in a day, there’s always time for one tiny thing. Do you take the bus? Write on the bus both ways and soon enough you can have a substantial story. Will you be exhausted when you get home? You can still brainstorm and try to get into the creative flow a little bit before bed. Do you have extra time during your lunch at work? You can write a couple paragraphs then, too.
If you want to do more, you have to make sacrifices. Don’t sacrifice all of your free time because you might come to hate writing. But if you’re trying to balance work, school and writing it’s important to cut back on the fluff in your life such as TV, random internet surfing and going to social gatherings. All of these things can be good for you in small doses because it’s important to relax, but they’re not important to your life in the long run.
Know what the priorities in your life are and act accordingly. Writing can’t always be your number one priority, especially when you’re a novelist working on your first draft, but you need to decide how important it is to you and what you’re willing to sacrifice. In the end you need to find a balance by making small sacrifices and taking advantage of every moment you have to yourself.
Dianna L. Gunn is a young Canadian freelance writer and aspiring fantasy author. She helps manage the Penumbra blog(penumbraezine.blogspot.com) and runs her own blog, The Dabbler(thedabbler.ca), where she talks about every kind of writing and helps other writers reach their goals.
One thought on “Balancing Several Hats”
I found writing for myself extremely difficult to do when in school. I had 500+ pages of reading each week, writing papers, take home assignments, and meeting outside of class with peers, plus working full time on top of this was extremely difficult. That I was an English major made it worse because even when I got one spare moment, I was so fried from writing academically that I couldn’t get myself to lift a pen or a finger to the keyboard. I almost never wrote for myself until the very end of getting my Master’s degree and I had mastered (ha) the art of skimming and quickly finishing assignments so that I could move on to my own stuff for even just a half hour. Now that I’ve graduated, I still find balancing all of those hats (insightful way to put it) very difficult. When you have days off from your day job and all you want to do is immerse yourself in your writing, YOUR work, and you have family and friends that want your time, house chores, and sometimes you just downright need a reboot (i.e. watching Downton Abbey for hours at a time), it’s still insanely hard to squeeze time for your beloved craft somewhere in there. But Diana is right. You make time. While eating breakfast, you can be reviewing something you wrote the night before and outlining. While on long trips or knowing you’ll have a long wait at a doctor’s appointment, bring your writing. I always have something to work on with me just in case. Great advice, Diana. People who really want this know they have to work for it, make those sacrifices, and force time for it into their lives. Sometimes we just have to be reminded. 🙂