How do you find time to write?

These days, with dozens of digital distractions, writers have to physically block out time to write. It hasn’t always been this way, of course.

Writing her heart outWhen I first started writing, we didn’t even have VCR’s, and the only “Mario and Luigi” we knew owned competing pizza shops. I was four years old. I had made a list of random letter combinations and asked my mom (my family’s literary expert) if any of them were words. One was: “Tom.”

Hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?

My point is that the only real distractions we had ‘way back then’ were the television and the great outdoors. We only had three channels and the weather sucked six months out of twelve, so there was plenty of time for writing — or reading, or playing board games, or backyard tackle football (no protective gear at all; were we crazy or what?).

“I’m pretty sure most of what we wrote was crap”

When I was in high school, two friends and I had so much time on our hands we actually founded a student newspaper. In fact, it was a surprising success. We “formatted” our articles on a cheap electric typewriter and used rub-to-transfer sheets to compose headlines. I’m pretty sure most of what we wrote was crap, but the other students seemed to like it.

In college, when I wasn’t dating and drinking, I found time for a daily radio show and a staff level position on the student news-magazine. I even attended some classes now and then. The only video games I’d ever seen were built into cool tabletops at the pub where we gathered. “Walka-walka-walka”!

Then came the Mario Brothers from Nintendo. That was the beginning of the end.

If I had a dollar for every hour I’ve spent playing that game and all the ones that followed after, I could go to Aruba and do some serious gambling while I was there.

I still found time to write, though. Plenty of it. In between building my own house and designing a board game (which our family still plays today), I joined various writers’ groups and filled a couple of notebooks with short fiction. (I should look for those, maybe.)

Along came the Internet, and everything changed again.

I didn’t get online until about 1999, and it was dial-up. So much for watching videos or playing MMORPG’s (giant group games). I did, however, find the coolest little forum-based writing group ever, sponsored by my ISP, CompuServe (now defunct.)

We posted stories in plain text, downloaded them to read them, and then discussed our reactions in the group’s forum. Some of what I wrote for that group wasn’t crap. In fact, I still treasure several of those short stories.

When I finally arrived at Helium in 2007, I still had plenty of time to write stuff, all kinds of stuff. I wrote writing tips, some short stories, a bunch of assorted non-fiction — and even sold quite a few articles directly to publishers. [Note: I still write paid articles for Helium’s Content Source group.]

And then Helium told us all to join Facebook.

Damn you Facebook.

I swear, that was the worst decision — and the best decision. I’ve met the nicest and coolest people on Facebook, and even reconnected with old friends. But that led to LinkedIn and BranchOut and Twitter and StumbleUpon, and… Well, the list seems to grow every day. “You should be there!” But wait, I’m not really Pinterested, am I? Don’t even ask me about FarmVille.

Did I mention I have a family, too?

I have a wonderful wife, two amazing kids of my own, and a daughter we share. Sure, all three of the kids are adults now, but they’re all close-by and they still like us. In fact, my whole extended family lives about a half-hour away. We hold monthly “game nights” that have nothing to do with the Mario Brothers.

We also have another “daughter” — Layla the dog. Yup, she needs attention, too. Since we don’t have a fenced-in yard, she needs regular walks. Every day would be nice. In bad weather she has to settle for twice a week or so. Sometimes I feed her, too. And let her sleep on my lap.

Not only that, I have a full-time day job.

OK. So I don’t have any time to write. I find time to write. I write stuff in my head while I’m driving around. I make notes before dinner, after walking the dog. I think about writing dialogue while my wife and I watch one of our favorite shows, like Big Bang Theory (only the funniest show since Seinfeld!). I write posts about writing while my wife is asleep beside me on the couch (right now).

Some of you travel.

Others of you still have time and money for golf or skiing or other happy hobbies.

Plenty of you go to church on the weekend, or look after aging family members, or volunteer at the library. You go running in the dark before work. You tend to glorious gardens. You work wonders with wood  and fix old trucks. Lots of you have jobs and spouses and kids and pets.

Yet you still find time to write.

At least two of the writers I know have managed to publish a novel in their “spare time.”

How do you do it? What do you give up to make room for writing? Maybe you stay up later than you should, lights dimmed, fingers flying across the keyboard. Or you’ve given up going to the movies (they have gotten rather expensive, haven’t they?).

Do you turn off the TV? Perhaps your kids have grown up and moved far away, leaving unexpected free time for writing. One of the things I “gave up” was mowing the lawn. I pay a guy to mow mine, and don’t miss doing it one bit. So there’s two extra hours a week for half the year. I’d pay a kid to shovel the driveway if I could find one willing.

Not many of us get rich from our writing.

Some of us are freelance writers who’ve actually made some decent money from our words. Others are devoted poets or capable editors. SoWrite’s first sponsor hosts a website for writers. Several of you devote hours each week to author personal or business blogs. Despite our efforts, none of the writers I know personally are making five-figures a year (much less, six!).

So it’s probably not the lure of riches that drives us to write. Or boredom, or lack of alternatives. Not once in a million posts have I seen anyone on Facebook volunteer, “I have SO much free time I just don’t know what to do with it.”

“…because the words inside us need to come out”

Something else gets sacrificed to make room for writing. That’s a given. It might be family time, or leisure time, or a hobby left behind. To find more time to write, I could read less, for instance. I’d miss my favorite authors, though.

Comes down to it, we write whether we have time to write or not. We write for fun or profit, fiction or non-fiction, because the words inside us need to come out. Because we have something to share.

We write because we must.

  »photo credit: Alex E. Proimos

questionWhat have you given up in order to make time for writing? Or have you given up some of your writing time to make room for other pursuits?


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  1. Jim, Great post! There is little doubt we as human beings have the express need to express ourselves, but also to create. ‘Know thyself’ comes to mind; –it is the most fortunate individual that recognizes that need and actually makes the necessary time and sacrifices to actually DO it -and no doubt, they are trade-offs and sacrifices.
    It is indisputable that the greatest civilizations on earth created the most beautiful artwork and the most significant, timeless written literary works. Let us create the same legacy -whatever it takes to construct it.

    • You make an interesting point, Raymond.
      When people have or make time to express themselves creatively, they do indeed leave a legacy behind. I hadn’t considered this in the wider sense, so thanks for pointing it out.
      I’m sure if we leave behind a collection of poems, short stories, a documentary or a novel — all of those will have far greater value and lasting impression than any of our posts on Facebook.

    • I take a more cynical view. Rather than, ” human beings have the need to express ourselves and create,” I’d say human beings have the need to engage in status seeking behavior, like composing music, writing books, and playing sports.

      Okay, jokes aside. The only way I get writing done is by going cold turkey. The internet, facebook, video games, etc… are just way to frikken addicting. If I do things in a normal way, it takes me weeks to write what I could have done in 2 days if I’d blocked access to electricity.

      • “…way too frikken addicting” is so right it hurts, Amit!

        And to an extent, your humorous observation about ‘status seeking behavior’ is probably true. There is certainly a social aspect to writing, once one goes beyond the Journaling stage. We write to communicate but also to gain respect in the eyes of our peers and readers.
        So, now you’re saying I have to turn off the electric too, not just the Internet? Yikes! 🙂

  2. Great article, Jim, and thanks for the plug-in. 🙂

    You could say writing is my first love and all-time love, so it goes without saying that when I want to spend time writing, I write. I’ve written while waiting in line for an interview, a poem which turned out brilliant and inspired from out of the blue, and I’ve written while on a train, while in a plane… I’ve written in a boat… I’ve written at the houses I’ve visited, I’ve written obituaries while at homes to condole people… the list goes on. I’ve given up low-paying job ops to work at offices so that I do not compromise on my writing, considering most of my earnings would, in any case be spent on commuting, in addition to working many hours out of home. What I will have eventually saved at a job (from what I’ve been offered so far), I make up with writing. I step out of the house and my neighbors ask me “How’s your writing going on?” or what I hear now… “How’s your book coming along?” I think most who know me now associate me with ‘writing’. This has always been my dream and I am living it. I spend as much as 10 hours or more a day writing at times and write way into the night. When I get into that writing frenzy, sleep is not a priority then and I work hard at finishing what I’ve set my mind on writing.

    I’ve given up a whole lot to make room for writing, and it seems to work just fine for me. 🙂 Saves me the hassle of getting involved in unnecessary gossip around the block. 🙂

    • Mandy, when you’re a writer, there’s no question, no doubt. I can certainly identify with that. Non-stop writing at times. Midnight oil. Interrupt anything that has to be interrupted. That’s exactly what happens. I write at any time, 4:00am or not.

      • Wow, 4 am Raymond?
        Have to admit I’ve never done any writing that late/early. On the other hand, I have looked up while working on a long writing project and wondered aloud: “No way that can be the correct time, right??”
        Those hours from 1 am to 6 am I try to reserve for sleeping! 🙂

        • Jim, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, awakening at 4:00 am with a brilliant idea is when the best writing can occur. We only need 2 hrs of sleep between spurts of creativity…so they say…LOL I wrote a major screenplay using that system. “:))

    • You certainly have, Mandy, and it shows your commitment.
      Your love of the language and your devotion to creative expression certainly justify the sacrifices you’ve made.
      I’m honored that you’ve taken time away from life and writing to talk to me at length about my vision for SoWrite, and have joined the site as a sponsor.

      • No worries to it, Jim. We are all connected in some way or the other when we have a common dream and purpose, and that is to write. I definitely cannot rely on my own abilities to get me places, and ‘need’ help from friends, and it only goes to say that when similar boost and encouragement has to be given, it doesn’t hurt to lend support, regardless in what form it may be. I find it refreshing, very refreshing, when I see creative talent taking shape to provide both writing as well as earning opportunities which in a way also provides ‘jobs’ for others. When you have a product that will enhance and uplift a writer, what’s not to support. I love what you have created with SoWrite. It has a great deal of potential and I am proud to know you my friend. 🙂

        Raymond, such is the life of a writer, aye? See, I slept from 10:30 p.m. last night, too early for my usual schedule, and here I am at 3:30 + a.m, wide awake and back to writing. It doesn’t bother me anymore when I don’t sleep by the clock or work by the clock. All in all, as long as I get my rest and my writing’s done and so is family taken care of, what difference does it make with a few displacement of hours here or there? I’m happy with who I am and what I do and I love the life of a writer. Will never trade it in for anything else. 🙂

  3. Well well…challenging times, I might say
    To be honest it all comes to how bad do you want it? How bad do you want to be come a good writer? How much are you willing to sacrifice for that?
    To me limiting the time I spend on Facebook and on watching TV are not really that big sacrifices… just liek waking up early to have an hour of silence and solitude to write.
    What I mean is that if there is big desire there is always a way out…

    • I love that line, Ani, and the song by Tim McGraw: “How Bad Do You Want It?”
      Your early morning solitude sounds fantastic. I’ve done that on some Sundays, with everyone still asleep, and produced some of my favorite pieces during those moments of quiet. I need to do that more often!
      You’re entirely right: it comes down to desire and devotion to the outcome you envision.

  4. Love this article! Personally, I write all the time. Even when I’m not physically writing, I’m writing…oh those times when I’m driving, and all I want to do is take out my phone and record the thoughts, before they evaporate into thin air! Silently repeating things over and over again in the grocery store, only to hurry and write them on any scrap of paper I can find in my purse…lowering the heat on the stove, to pop over to my computer, hoping I don’t get too distracted and affect whatever it is I’m cooking…

    I’ve reorganized a few priorities in my life to meet the need to write. Keeping a clean house will always be important to me, but being obsessive about it will never be an option, because it takes too much time away from writing. Reading … I love to read. However, I love to write more. I must admit, I read fewer books these days than I ever did before. Can’t blame it all on writing, however. Life keeps me going strong in all sorts of ways.

    Regardless, you stated it perfectly, Jim. Writers find time to write, and they make sacrifices to do it.

    • Thanks, MJ,
      You wrote “oh those times when I’m driving, and all I want to do is take out my phone and record the thoughts, before they evaporate into thin air!” and that resonated perfectly with me. In fact, I used to carry a mini-cassette recorder for just that reason. (Then I’d forget to check it at the end of the day…)
      You’re right that the only way to make real time for writing is to reorganize your priorities. It’s true that there aren’t enough hours in a given day to get done everything you might want to accomplish — so some of that just has to go by the wayside.
      Reading, for me, is not only relaxing but educational and inspiring. I can’t even begin to place a value on what I’ve learned from the writers I respect, or on the ways their words have changed my views of the world. A side note about that: I’m always thrilled when Stephen King has one of his characters reading something written by one of my favorite authors. I’ve seen that numerous times; makes me feel good about my author choices.
      Still, I do need to find more time to write, one way or another.

  5. Modern life certainly is a challenge for those of us who prefer to write a little more than 140 characters – or to write a paragraph instead of a caption for an image. Sadly, I think you are right. If we are to make the time to cultivate the writing muse, something else has to go. It might be Facebook, it might be the housecleaning, it might be that extra hour of sleep. We all have to make a decision about what we can give up in service to that need to express yourself in writing!

    • Sarah, you had me laughing right away with “those of us who prefer to write a little more than 140 characters”!
      I wonder if I could write short stories 140 characters per ‘chapter’? 🙂 I’m sure at least several Twitter-literate writers are trying it.
      You said it all with “something else has to go.” No doubt about it! Thanks for dropping in, Sarah.

  6. I really enjoyed this post, Jim, thanks for finding the time to write it!

    As a father to two young children I relate to the struggle to find time to write in a busy life, and how that struggle can sometimes morph sneakily into avoiding the call to write (I’m talking to you Survivor, online poker, bulging bookmark folder). It’s hard to navigate all the available distractions, especially when those distractions can sometimes fuel our writing–most of my learning about the raft of writing was done in online poetry forums.

    I loved this observation: “…because the words inside us need to come out” I can feel that, it’s like they have a life of their own, that can only be lived through us, and those who read them.

    Even with all the distractions in the world tapping on our shoulders, isn’t it great that we find time to turn away and write what we are called to write. Even though most of my writing time feels ‘stolen’ from other areas of my life, that fact is satisfying in itself, it’s like I tricked the world out of a few minutes and used it to create a poem, a blog post, a small handwritten ‘victory’ against the odds.

    • I couldn’t have said it any better, Dave!
      I’d love to have authored your final paragraph, above, and had it as my own post conclusion.
      Thanks for adding those thoughts so perfectly to this discussion. I’m right there with you, my friend!

  7. Jim, most of the time the only way I can get writing done is to turn off my browser and pretend like I don’t have internet. Otherwise, all of those things you mentioned completely suck my time up. Especially since I’m one of those writers that likes to “have written” rather than enjoying the actual process that much. It’s pretty easy to find online distractions!

    • “Turn off my browser” might be my only true answer, Bobbi!
      I’d have to change my habits, though. Two ways I compose are directly into the New Post window or in a New Document in Google Docs (which I love). So — whaddaya know? — my browser is always open when I’m writing.
      “Ooh, new email!” or “Oh, look, more notices from Facebook from all of my awesome friends” or “Wait, who replied to one of my Tweets just now?”
      Yup, you’re right. 100% “Turn off my browser” would be the smart move. 🙂

      • Following up on your reply to Bobbi; getting rid of TV ‘magically’ adds hours onto the day. (I can’t remember quite seriously when the last time I watched TV was.) I also turned off notifications from Facebook a long time ago. That is a big help. You visit when you have time, not when someone clicked a Like button. There must be a way to do that in Twitter as well as that is still a time-suck for me. Another thing that i must do is crawl into Gmail settings and turn off email notifications. That’s the biggest time waster although I use Gmail, calendar, and like you Docs/spreadsheet for so much. I have opened another address so I have access to all of that but the constant bombardment every 30 sec. isn’t an intrusion into thought process. As for Sarah’s comments. I’m a big fan of Papa and always thought he’d have loved Twitter. To your response to her; Hemingway actually wrote a six-word story; “For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn.”

        • Jim Bessey says

          Thanks SO much for mentioning that Hemmingway story, Lee!

          I’d been trying to recall it a couple of weeks ago, and could not remember who’d written it — so had no way to search for it.

          When I think back to how I began my foray into online writing, the utter lack of distraction was incredible. I had signed up for CompuServe, back when we used to get their silver and blue discs every week in the mail (remember those? “coasters!”). CompuServe hosted a Writers Forum in which we posted plain-text stories based on prompts. The group members would all critique each other’s submissions. I did some pretty darned good writing back then. (Forgive me if this story is in the post!)

          I understand exactly what you’re saying about all the constant distractions presented by “notifications”. We must open and respond IMMEDIATELY! It’s nerve-wracking and ultimately, absurd. Unfortunately or not, the world has indeed moved on. (Stephen King, maybe, from the Dark Tower series?)

  8. Hey Jim.

    As much as I love TV and movies, they were the first casualties of my blog. Luckily, the very few shows I do care about can live on my DVR until I’m in the mood.

    Also…a good old fashioned composition notebook is with me almost constantly, so little bits and chunks can be written on the fly during spare moments.

    • I was just thinking about that yesterday, Gary–
      “a good old fashioned composition notebook.” As Bobbi mentioned, that would get me away from the lure of my open browser, too.
      I used to write on yellow legal pads and I swear the words just seemed to flow onto the pages. Sometimes they flowed so quickly I could barely read my own writing when it came time to transcribe to digital. Just might have to revert to that method!
      As for TV, my old favorite was Friday Night Lights, one of the best dramatic series ever written IMHO. I was a bit lost when it ended. Now, however, much of the team from that show has returned with a wonderful indulgence called Nashville. It’s sometimes overly dramatic in the way that Dallas was, but the foundation of amazing writing and brilliant characters remains. I won’t give it up — I won’t! 🙂
      On the other hand, some of the other drivel I watch as background while writing — that can go away. You’re abso’y right, thanks!

  9. Ah, that is such a cute story. You asked your mom ” if any of them were words” I adore that. I’m sorry. I’m sure you hate me now but I had to say it. I have that gene. Genetically predisposed.
    Love your sense of humor.. Ironically, I just wrote a post along a similar theme about having to write. I have about 400 (maybe more) people on Facebook that are permanently pissed off with me b/c I never go on there anymore. And if I do, it is only for a text ‘n dash, what I call the sign in and do and get the hell outta there before you get sucked in! Someone was messaging me as I was dashing off the last time and I pretended not to see them. See what a terrible friend I am? I won’t even play their Mafia Wars.
    Actually, I do it by staying up late though I hear morning papers are better (writer joke there). I get up early but I’ve never been a morning writer, even if I had all the time in the world, and who does these days? I love to read and don’t get enough of that as I think I do more internet reading then actual reading. So, I’ve made compromises but I don’t see them that way. I guess you could chalk this up to a genetic thing too. Wouldn’t you?

    • I’m glad you enjoy my sense of humor, Lee.
      Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one that laughs at my “material.” 🙂
      Facebook is indeed a sucking vortex, simply because Mr. Mark and his team have made it so incredibly easy for people to interact quickly and in entertaining ways. Hmm, lesson there for us bloggers, maybe?
      Staying up late works just fine, too, Lee. Some of us are early birds and others are wise owls — you gotta go with the way your genes direct you. Next time I see you on Facebook, I’ll shoot you a message and expect no answer at all. 😉 (Are we Friends there? Not sure.)
      If you happen to stop back, Lee, why not leave us a link to that post you mentioned? Thanks!

  10. That is one reason I would get on The Book of Face is to friend you, Jim!
    And yes, somehow, I have been trying to figure out how, we must make our blogs more immediately interactive. A ‘tribe’ as Jeff Bullas calls it. I am so happy this morning because one of the authors I mentioned in my post came by and left an awesome comment for all writers! It is at Thanks for asking.
    I laughed so hard at your “LinkedIn, BranchOut…StumbleUpon” and many others. Keep that sense of humor coming! Thanks again Jim!

    • Thanks so much for coming back, Lee!
      I know exactly how great it feels when an author you mention in a post stops by to comment, because it happened here on SoWrite just a couple of weeks ago, when Rebecca Forster actually joined the conversation in “Which pie is yours?”. She added great value to the conversation and energized the thread.
      I’ll be sure to read your post tonight, Lee. And, yes, let’s join forces on Facebook. That venue has its own value, when we don’t allow the vortex to control us.

      PS to everyone who has stopped by: I am more than happy to display links to your relevant content here in Comments any time. Please don’t hesitate to add your own value to the conversation, just as Lee did. Thanks!

  11. Jim, you are so right. FB is a big, sucking vortex that siphons off a HUGE amount of creative time. The problem with me is that I love interacting with people, that’s genetic for sure–being a people person. It does, however interfere with productivity. I shut my browser right off at times now, ‘just a comment here and there” adds up to HOURS of FB. Shutting it off has gotten me up to 30k so far on the novel….so it works “:))

    • But you’re right, too, Raymond —
      The real relationships our gang has developed on FB do matter to us as social beings. We share our hopes and dreams and creative outpourings with each other, and we support each other’s efforts. Those interactions have enormous value, and we’ve all made fast friends within our group. Wow, remember how worried we were about Mac Pike? He’s not just some Avatar on the Interwebs — he’s a friend.

      And yet there has to be a limit to the time spent reading and Liking stuff, viewing videos of kittens and puppies and Sharing those pervasive “cards” with words of eternal wisdom.

      I’ll talk to you privately later on, Raymond. Need your advice and assistance on a SoWrite project. Look for me later on. Thanks!

  12. Tamara Narayan says

    Hi Jim,

    The house doesn’t look it, but tidying and keeping my children happy-fed-clothed are my two biggest writing blocks. Just laundry and dishes alone suck up a lot of time. I’ve decided housekeeping is actually the management of one million objects, many of which need to be washed and moved–here to there and there to here. I’m suffering from the tyranny of ownership and it’s high time to move at least 30% out of the home one way or another. Yet that would require a lot of time. I’d rather write.

  13. You certainly made me smile, Tammy.

    Have to agree with you about the 30%, too. “De-Clutter” is more than just a buzzword for selling Tupperware Totes.

    When I first started writing this post, I had in mind some idea of tallying up the time I spend doing ordinary chores, just as you mention. While I’m only an assistant to my wife’s brave efforts, my time spent on cleaning and fixing and other daily “stuff” is well over a dozen hours a week. Yeah, I’d rather write, too!

    You’ve found great heaping gobs of time in your life, Tammy, for writing. I’ve read your first novel and a large portion of your current work-in-progress (which is wonderful, by the way). I also have an idea of how much time you’ve invested in editing and revisions. Where have you found that time? Was there any key part of your life you had to alter to make that happen?

  14. Tamara Narayan says

    Yes, the key to writing is the age of your children. As mine are in school all day, provided they are not ill, I have no excuses because I have no job. Yet it’s amazing how much time I fritter away reading, shopping, volunteering, and so on. When I started my first novel, my husband took our youngest, then one, on a two-hour shopping adventure on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It wasn’t much, but over the months, a first draft was produced. The year after that, she started pre-school. It’s my humble opinion that no matter what your circumstances, if something is vital to your happiness, you will do it, come hell or dirty dishes.

    • Hi Tammy 🙂
      I can soooo relate to your comments…
      My kids are pretty much grown now. I’m finding that between family time and writing time, life simply does what it will. Would gladly give up some of my writing time for more family time. They grow up so fast, and it’s truly special when all the schedules mesh and all of us actually get to hang out together….rare these days, between kids school, jobs and social lives.

      As for chores…they come and go … all the time … they pile up and then the piles disappear in a never ending cycle, only to reappear when I’m smack dab in the middle of writing… I get to them when I get to them, and no one seems to mind. You know what they say about keeping Mom happy, after all, and that’s a pretty good deal for me around here 🙂

  15. I think you nailed it, Tammy, at least for me:

    By blocking out a specific time on a regular basis, and identifying that time as “Novel Writing Time” (and nothing else), you can accomplish the task by faithful devotion.
    As you have shown, by dedicating two hours a day two days a week, you can make incredible progress — as long as you have the patience and determination to stick by it. Hmm, sounds like a formula for success in just about any endeavor, doesn’t it? 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing your valuable experience, Tammy!

  16. Love this discussion. You’ve managed to turn your comments into a sort of forum, Jim. This is what every writer strives for in support of the community. You’ve managed your time well both in writing and communicating. Great work and you should be commended. (Which was my intent. 😉

  17. Jim – You said it all! Thank you. As an artist this discussion comes up all time. Plus the discussion about how much money it costs us to create our art. And when you are not earning back the money plus the lack of time we think of quitting from time to time. But as one of my fellow artist said “But then I think of life without my art…then I continue creating”. I really identified with this post because most of us (me) have day jobs, family, commitments, friends, pets, community that all take pieces of time. But we MUST create – there is not another option. Thank you.

    • Nice to know we are not alone, isn’t it, Jane?

      The drive to “create” is often an intrusion and an inconvenience, when it’s not make us creatively wealthy, of course. 🙂 No matter what, creative outpourings are good mind medicine for whatever ails you. Thanks for stopping in, Jane!

  18. Great post, Jim, and I couldn’t agree more. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, LinkedIn, Pinterest…HUGE drains on time – ironically, drains we’re encouraged by publishers, etc., to join. I’ve spent time lately “unjoining” most of the stuff I originally joined. Twitter and FB will stay, though, because like you, I’ve reconnected with many old friends and met new ones. Now I just have to discipline myself so I can get some writing done!

    • “…drains we’re encouraged by publishers to join” is right, Melinda!

      You gotta network, build your platform, connect with your audience…all that. Plus have a first-class author website, and build an email list of readers and fans. Oh, yeah — “and get busy writing; you’re on a deadline, you know!”

      Wouldn’t it be great if Life had a Pause Button? 🙂

  19. Petra Newman says

    Great article Jim
    I think every writer has experienced this dilemma. I admire all the writers who have written a book. It literally is a work of blood, sweat and tears, sacrifice, frustration and disappointment. Often a writer feels lonely, insecure and intimidated. Like going through a hard, birthing canal, the process can be painful. You wonder what drives them; their masochistic desire to write words on paper. The answer is passion. Like the salmon who suffer unbelievable obstacles swimming upstream; so is the writer driven to write. It’s a natural instinct he/she was born with. They can’t help it, like an addiction to a drug, when they’re not writing, their thinking about writing.
    So I write amidst chaos and noise in my kitchen. Dinner is cooking on the stove, grandchildren dogs, husband all need my attention. Sleep . . . what’s that? Every waking moment I have I try to write. And yes it is all in nano-seconds. Needless to say, I have a number of unfinished manuscripts collecting dust in the closet. So I applaud all the writers out there. Well done.?

    • Jim Bessey says

      My life is in some ways similar to yours, Petra.

      But you have something I do not: “a number of unfinished manuscripts collecting dust in the closet”. So let’s talk about that. How many is a number? How close are they to complete? Are they any good? Among them, do you have a favorite?

      And the most important question of all: What’s stopping you from choosing ONE, finishing it, and moving forward as a novelist?

      I’m not asking these questions idly, Petra, or to poke at you. I think the answers matter to all of us as writers.


  1. […] These days, with dozens of digital distractions, writers have to physically block out time to write. It hasn’t always been this way, of course. When I first started writing, we didn’t e…  […]

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