Still on the high of having completed my January challenge, I have decided to choose a quote from Nora Roberts for this week’s feature. Roberts is a best-selling author who has written over 200 titles and has spent more than 860 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, over 170 of those weeks being at the number one spot. Something makes me think that Roberts can be counted on as being something of an authority on the subject of writing!
Had I had the entire month of January to do nothing but sit around and write, I would have easily completed the 31 day, 50,000 word challenge that I had set for myself. Alas, being neither rich nor a best-selling writer in my own right, I not only had to contend with the self-imposed challenge, but also fit in a full-time job and a busy home life to boot – neither of which are conducive to getting a good word count in.
The challenge had started as a lark, a fun little exercise to see if I could push myself to reach a goal that I’d set for myself. For the first few days I took it relatively easy and spent an odd twenty or thirty minutes here and there to get a few paragraphs in. Perhaps it was an error to add a spreadsheet into the mix as that then gave me an idea of how many words I was writing each day. It then became a case of outdoing myself with each day that passed. If I’d written 500 words on the Tuesday, I would then want to write at least 501 on Wednesday and so on….
Writing then became a compulsion and one in which I found myself fitting the other duties in my life around. If I had a heavy schedule at work, I would set my alarm to get up an hour earlier and use that extra time to get my word count in for the day, knowing that I’d be too tired to want to write when I got home in the evening.
Although pushing myself to write every day – regardless of the state of my health – might seem foolhardy in the least, it did make me realise that in order to be a writer that you really have to want to succeed, rather than just wishing you could. Roberts is correct when she says that a writer never has time to write and that you must make the time to write instead.
Writing takes time, dedication, motivation, grit and determination. Much like a naturally gifted athlete, you need to harness the talent that you have in order to reach the highest pinnacles. Sometimes that means getting up early or going to bed late, not watching the TV or going out with friends on a Friday night. In order to succeed we have to make sacrifices, otherwise how can we measure our journey?
Being a writer is often a thankless task and as rejection letters pile up on your desk it is easy to lose sight of the goal that you wish to achieve in favor of putting it off and pursuing other hobbies or skills. Giving up and not making time for writing is to not make use of the talents that you have. Just like an athlete, you need to continually train and build your writing muscles, grabbing the opportunity to work on those skills whenever and wherever you can.
Saying that you don’t have time to write is nothing more than an excuse. Make the time to write.