Life is chaotic and busy. If you daily trudge to a full-time job and spend hours in traffic, you can add two to three hours to your eight hour work day. I live near the Seattle area where workers have gradually started their commute earlier and earlier to beat the congestion. Unfortunately, many others had the same idea, and now there are miles-long traffic jams at four am. I used to make that trek and eventually caved to the idea of public transportation. So I’d ride the bus to downtown Seattle and walk several blocks from the bus tunnel to work. It meant rising much earlier than my body wanted to. On the way home, this weary commuter snoozed until I arrived at the Park-and-Ride. I’m much luckier now. In the morning, my commute is a mere forty-five minutes from my home in the South Puget Sound.
I’m a novelist, and regardless of the shorter commute, I still struggle to find time to write Monday through Friday. In addition to writing, I work a full-time job and am raising a teenage boy. Couple that with ordinary life like commitments at church, paying bills, cleaning house, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning the dreaded cat pan. I feel like I’m putting what I really loved to do on hold far too often. Guilt beats me up when a fellow blogger or fan asks me, “When is your new novel going to be published?” I have become an artful liar. “By summer’s end, the raw draft should be ready for an editor.”
I think I have found a solution though. My body rises at an ungodly early hour even on weekends. If I get at least a half a cup of coffee in me, don’t bother to dress, or turn on the TV, I’ve got a chance to get some serious writing done. Like a child with ADHD, if I get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Gmail, I’m a goner. Before I know it, two hours have passed, and by then the animals are circling my feet for breakfast, and my grandson has stumbled upstairs for cereal. I wish the pharmaceutical companies had a pill for self-discipline.
That’s what it takes to complete a goal. Self-discipline. Sometimes, mine is in short supply. In the last ten years, I’ve written five novels. I want to make room for the sixth novel on my website header below.
I faithfully read fellow author Kristin Lamb’s blog:https://authorkristenlamb.com/ Her advice? Just do it. She even emails me and other followers at random hours to join her for writing sprints. Maybe it’s a half-hour or an hour. She emails, “Hello from the I-nag.” It’s a call to action to hyper-focus and a reminder that even fifteen minutes or a half-hour can inch me towards my goal.
My writing matters…A LOT. But so does life. I have some dear family members who are facing serious health issues. That’s a sharp reminder to me that in the whole scheme of things, they are more important than a completed novel. I continue to keep my eye on the target, but precious time with loved ones is the greater goal.
Til next time, dear friends.