(NaNoWriMo cheerleading post for November 10 – comment on this post if you would like me to address a specific topic)
You thought I was going to tell you there’s actually any time in your schedule to write and also get everything else done? Hah. Fooled you. That’s not going to happen.
There are things you can do to take advantage of the time you actually have. You can eliminate distractions, shut down the Internet, set timers, write in short chunks, carry writing materials with you on the train, to the bathroom, and out to lunch, of course.
But you can’t magically deal with all your work obligations, family interruptions, or television viewing. So don’t. Don’t deal with them.
Give something up.
Showers. Dishes. Family obligations. Television. If you want to be a writer (even if it’s just for the month of November), you have to be willing to make sacrifices. Because society socializes men to be work-focused, and socializes women to do emotional work, it is sometimes easier for men to let stuff go, while women (who are supposed to take care of all their other work and have a career) tend instead to try to figure out how to do it all. But none of us is good at letting go of the things we care about in order to write.
Virginia Woolf’s Essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” argued among other things that writers must have their own space and enough money to live in order to write. She was addressing women specifically, but I would extend that to anyone who is trying to write.
What does “your own space” mean? It is not just a literal space. It means carving out some place in your life where you are utterly selfish about your need to create, to the point that you neglect other important things: Recreation. Social life. Buying presents for people. Getting to work early. Cooking.
“Neglect” may be one the most shameful words in our society, but unless you’re willing to neglect something else in your life to be a writer, it’s not going to happen.
Try it today. Say no to something.
I, for instance, am writing this during the time I was going to take a shower. Look out world, here comes my smelly self. Deal with it.