I have recently started a new position where almost every moment, from sunup to sundown, is occupied by my professional responsibilities. With this new position, my hours have changed, my days are longer and I now have a commute to and from work. I can no longer sneak off to the gym or run errands during lunch because my office isn’t close to anywhere. I can’t write whenever I feel the urge because I am always in meetings or working on projects.
After I get off work I almost always sit in traffic and by the time I get home, I am mentally dead. I try to focus enough to kiss my boyfriend and my dogs, help make dinner, clean up my home and maybe relax on the couch for an hour. Before I know it, I am preparing for the next day, both mentally and physically. I am laying my workout clothes out for my 5 a.m. workout, packing my lunch for the coming day and doing a mental inventory of the things I need to accomplish the next day. The second my body gets under the covers I am dead to the world and the next day is a repeat of the previous.
With this new change, the most difficult thing to adjust to, by far, is the fact that I no longer have time to write. My favorite little corner of my world is covered in cobwebs and darkness. I haven’t tended to it, decorated it or shined light on it. With each day I feel my thoughts and my creativity slipping away and I feel as though there is nothing I can do. In the simplest of terms, I had to prioritize my life and writing didn’t make the cut. And for two months, my fingers no longer typed words, my thoughts failed to make it on paper.
Then I woke up and decided to figure out how one can write when writing isn’t their job. I looked at writing as a job vs. hobby and concluded that so many writers are working 40-50 hours a week, just like me, and they make it happen. They find time to work, cook, clean, spend time with their lovers, families and friends and still do what they love. They still write. And so can I.
And I started to learn how to make the time to write.
If I wasn’t able to just sit and stare at the computer anymore, waiting for the words to run from my fingertips, I would outline articles I wanted to write. I started jotting down notes in-between meetings and going back to them when I could. Sometimes I have an entire article written on paper from a few minutes of attention here or there. Outlining helps to keep my article flowing even when I am not able to let it flow continuously in one sitting.
Busy people find time to write by consciously scheduling time to write during their weeks. My dear friend (and LD’s beauty editor) wakes up earlier than needed every day so she can write for an hour or more before her day has to start. For some people, this is what they need to do to clear their minds and start their days. Recently, I have started writing on the weekends, which seems like the obvious idea to most but isn’t easy. Somehow I seem to pack my weekends as full as my weeks and carving out time around breakfast with my boyfriend, lunch with my mom and a summer concert with friends in the evening isn’t that easy. In fact it isn’t easy at all. But it must be done and I have to consciously give myself the time to write and rewrite and write some more during my weekends.
Another way to find time to write is to sign up for a writing class. The reason this is so appealing to me is because it holds me accountable to writing. If I tell myself Monday at 7 p.m. I am going to write then my best friend calls and says we should go grab a glass of wine, I am most likely going to grab the wine because I love her and I love wine and I can write on Tuesday, right? Well the same thing happens over and over until weeks have passed without words appearing on paper. Classes hold you accountable and sometimes I need to be held accountable.
And so, with this article, I have started on the right path. I am finding ways to balance my life and do what I love, which is to write. I have learned a lot over these past two months without writing. I have learned that this can devotion can be focused on anything you find important. Maybe you can’t find time to work out or read—you can change that. I have learned that you have to make time for the things you love and that even as life changes, nothing that feeds your soul should be left out.