When I decided to really be serious about writing I gradually started to give up certain things in life in order to have time and fewer distractions to work. Writing isn’t easy, it takes many hours and (at least for me) a lot of concentration. Here’s the list:
First, I gave up most games. That doesn’t sound like much but in this day and age a lot of people like games…video games, computer games, apps, that kind of thing. For me it was mostly apps. Apps are innocent fun, in my opinion, but time wasters. I was playing this one game that required way too much of my attention to be good at it so I gave that one up and a few others that were just pointless. Well, most of them are pointless but I still play a few that don’t take a lot of time…or money (that’s important, too). Pretty much anything electronic seems to kill the writing mood, I try to avoid it all now.
Next, I gave up T.V. Don’t panic, I didn’t give up all T.V., just a lot of T.V. Mostly daytime stuff, because I’m home during the day and I use the T.V. as background noise a lot of the time. However, it’s too easy to start staring at the T.V. mindlessly and suddenly an hour of wasted time has passed by. Yeah, that had to stop so the T.V. isn’t on for a lot of day since that’s when I try to do a lot of my writing. For quite a few years I haven’t been a huge T.V. watcher so even though I still watch some at night, it’s really not that much. I do try to catch the news everyday because I do want to be informed, I think that’s important for anyone but it also helps spur my writing imagination.
Finally, and I didn’t necessarily give this up by choice, I gave up the dream of having a clean house. You might think that’s a joke, and it sort of is, but I’m also being quite serious. Writing isn’t the only thing I need to do during the day and the reality is there just isn’t time for it all. Writing is important to me, I try to work on it everyday for at least an hour, more if I’m in the mood or have the extra time. I try to be as clean as I can, but it’s not perfect and it never will be. Before the writing it was a struggle, now I think I’ve come to terms with my house just being “good enough”. I think I can handle a little dust, a bit of clutter, and a sink with dirty dishes in it. I’ll get to it when I have time. I’ve always had a hard time with the cleaning bit because between me, my three children, two dogs, and husband, I’m by far the cleanest of them all. So the others make 90% of the mess and I have to clean more than 50% of it up (I refuse to do kids’ rooms or bathrooms, they need to do that themselves, I’m a stickler there). It’s a bum deal and I think I have the right to be lazy about it if I want to be. After all, nine times out of ten I didn’t make the mess to begin with anyway.
After making an effort to give these things up I have finished two manuscripts since February…so I think it’s working. It’s not perfect, I still get distracted all the dang time, but I can see that it’s making a difference in my ability to set aside time to write and still get the others things in my life done that need to be done.
There are a few things I refuse to sacrifice in order to get more writing time: Spending time with my family, taking care of my family, going to church (and spending time on spiritual reflection, etc.), and exercise.