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Episode 7: Making Time To Write Is Harder Than You Think

This is a transcript for episode 7 of About This Writing Thing available at:

Hello, and welcome to About This Writing Thing, a weekly podcast about living the writing life. I am your host, Sayword B. Eller, writer, podcaster, and hopeful editor. I wasn't really sure what to talk about this week. I'd love to talk more about eliminating thought verbs and feel words in my narrative but I'm so scattered at the moment with writing projects, school, and trying to relaunch my small jewelry business that I hardly know what I'm doing. Writing time? HA! I've written almost 2000 words this week but it was an assignment for class, so it doesn't count in the grand scheme of things that is my writing life. Maybe, then, I'll talk about making time for writing. Or, rather, not making time.

I've always had a ton of excuses for not writing consistently. For eight years my excuse was the very emotionally and psychologically taxing job I had, though I did finish two novels and begin a third while employed there. Then, in August of 2018, I suddenly found myself without full time employment. After walking through a daze for a couple of weeks (those of you who've been suddenly terminated probably know what I'm talking about), my husband said, "why don't you do what you've always wanted to do, get your writing career off the ground?" This, I thought, was a great idea. Scary as hell, but great none-the-less.

But there are problems with working from home that I didn't expect. The most prominent being, the excuses and time sucks don't stop.

I remember thinking almost daily on the drive to work that I would love nothing more than to be at home all day. All that writing time would be a dream. I forgot that not everyone else believes that writing is a "real job". This presents a whole new set of problems that we'll get into in a minute.

First, though, I want to talk about how my lack of confidence as a writer led to me making a decision that took away from my writing. All I wanted for so long was to be able to write full time. But the problem with going from making a fair amount of money a year to making none is the guilt that comes along with being a burden. Writing, my friends, is a long game. You don't decide you're going to be a full time writer and all of the sudden find yourself in the money. I have yet to make a dime off my writing and I've been doing this full time for a year.

I should add here that, much like my novels, I don't plan my life. There are writers who make extra money by submitting freelance articles and editing (a realm I'm entering), but that takes away from the actual writing we're all dreaming of doing, right? We all want to be Stephen King or Nora Roberts, James Patterson, or "insert 1% writer name here", but what we don't realize is that those are Cinderella stories.

Change my mind. I'd love for you to.

Back to my point. My lack of confidence in my ability to make writing work led me to entertain a second dream I'd been working on for several years, that of being a small shop owner. The opportunity presented itself (as MLM's often do) in the form of budget-friendly jewelry. I thought to myself, I can do this, build up enough business to launch the part of the business I'm really passionate about and write while I'm doing it. Let me tell you, for seven months this jewelry business took a lot of time away from my writing. I didn't identify it as a means to sabotage my writing until it was far too late. Besides, I do really enjoy selling pretty costume jewelry, so if I can find a way to balance both businesses it's a win-win for me.

But, alas, there are other things that we stay-at-homers allow to interfere with our business time. People think we're just sitting at home so our time is their time. This is something I struggled with for almost the whole first year of staying at home. Need someone to run an errand? Call Sayword. Need a babysitter? Call mommy. Driving home and want to chat because you're bored? Call Sayword.

I seriously had to put my foot down. Getting people to take what I do as a serious job was a struggle I hadn't quite anticipated. I'm not going to sit here and tell you everyone stopped calling or stopping by. That still happens. But the frequency in which it happens has really declined. Now, instead of just dropping by my daughter calls to see if I'm finished working for the day (most of the time) before coming over with the grands. That, my friends, is progress.

I am in an MFA program and that does take some time away from my writing but the creative writing program is nowhere near as time consuming as the grad program in history. Oh yeah, for those who don't know, I am an almost fully trained historian. Lol. It really helps with the research aspect of writing, though I haven't written any fiction dealing with my specialization yet. Weird.

Now we're entering fall again. Thank goodness. And I've got a lot of fires burning, so I need to be deliberate with scheduling my time. I bought a planner. Making it a habit is a process but I'm growing to appreciate the process.

I'm going to stop talking now. This is a short episode because I need to get back to work. To all you dreamers out there, keep dreaming. Staying at home is my favorite thing. In fact, I like it too much. Family and friends are now calling me a shut-in. Not good. Keep dreaming, keep pushing to make the dream come true, but be aware there are obstacles and you may be the biggest one.

Until next week, then. Happy writing!


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