“I want to write, but there’s no time!” – the most common excuse I hear from wannabe writers. Now this excuse can be twisted in other forms such as, “I can’t find the time” or “I’m going to be too busy,” and so forth.
Writing is a very unusual child. It is most patient and quiet. Oh, it will nag you with ideas and whisper pleas for you to write, but it won’t scream on top of its lungs at you forcing you to strap it down and shove food into its mouth.
No, writing is like the child at the table who wants someone to pass the salt, but instead of asking, she simply stares at the salt shaker as if willing someone to read her mind or for the salt to pass itself. That is why it is easy to ignore it and to put it on the back burner. “I’ll deal with it later.” That’s almost like saying about your child, “I’ll spend one-on-one time with her…later.” That sounds cold, doesn’t it? You’d never do that to your child because you know the impact it would have on the child’s life.
Since writing is such a patient character, it will only occasionally whisper reminders to you―maybe when you’re watching TV, reading a book, surfing the net, just hanging out with friends. “You said you want to write. Why don’t you write then?” You respond, “I don’t have time.” Writing replies, “There are twenty-four hours in a day. I just ask ten..fifteen minutes. Why don’t you give me that much of your time?” But then you ignore it because you don’t want to stop what you’re doing and pick up that old promise.
However, as silent as writing may be, it has a cruel edge to it. It rusts with time. It won’t recall all the brilliant ideas you once had. It won’t come when called when you FINALLY sit down to write. No, it will make you work for it―after all that time you made it wait, it’s only fair.
The first thing you write, you’ll hate, crumble it up and throw it away―or press the delete key. Writing wants to make sure you have the commitment because once the commitment is there, there is no turning off the writer. Ideas will download from your fingertips into the computer. You won’t be able to sleep, and even if you do, you’ll dream, and you’ll wake up and have to write down your dreams. Whenever you talk to anyone, you see everything as a story, imagine everyone as a character. It feels like a superpower, and it’s fun and exciting!
But it’s not easy. If you ignored writing for years, it could take just as long for writing to completely trust you and open its floodgates of inspiration.
Imagine a valley. When you were young, you started building a wall across the valley. A little creek ran through the valley, but you had no trouble blocking it off. As you get older, you continue building the wall, and the creek is now becoming a pool―then a majestic lake that is as deep as your wall is high. Then one day you realize it is necessary to let the water flow through the valley and replenish it. However, you know you can’t just knock down the wall all at once because you’ll suffer a tidal wave that could destroy everything. So one-by-one you remove the bricks allowing the water to flow little-by-little back into the valley.
The wall is your procrastination not to write. It holds back the desire to write, stagnating the pool of ideas, but if you are truly determined to write, that wall can come down—carefully, one brink at a time.