As a freelance writer and an author with 20 books outlined and only one published, I always feel guilty when I do literally anything other than write, but I know the opposite is true for many writers. They–and probably you–have day jobs, families, and friends vying for their limited time, not to mention all the things that need to happen to keep their homes and bodies running properly. They feel guilty taking time away from these things to write, and when they do get their butt into the chair, there’s always a voice nagging them with all the other things they could be doing.
Once upon a time, I struggled with this type of guilt too. Then I realized how much it weighed me down, how it made it difficult to get into the flow when I finally did get to work, and how it was generally ruining my life. So every time the guilt reared its ugly head, I reminded myself why this writing thing I do is so important, and why it’s worth the time.
If you’re struggling, these reminders might just help you too.
Reasons To Make Time for Writing
1. Writing nourishes the soul
There have been many studies proving that journaling can improve your mental health and speed up personal growth, and I believe fiction writing can do the same. Sometimes it’s even more useful than journaling, helping you examine your issues from another angle.
2.You’ll be happier
Regularly sitting down and doing something you love will make you happier. Having a healthy outlet for your emotions and a place where you can keep your secrets safely will make you happier. Putting your book out into the world and connecting with readers will make you happier. And who doesn’t want to be happier?
3. You need to finish something
You may dream of a writing career with fame and fortune and many adoring readers, but you’ll never achieve even a fraction of that success if you don’t finish something. Many people say the first step to a writing career is to simply start writing, and to some extent that’s true, but I believe finishing something is what truly starts you on the road to a career. You gain a new level of respect for writing–and yourself–when you finish something, especially a book length project.
4. Your dreams are important
Often we are told to push aside our creative aspirations. Expecting financial success with our creative work is unrealistic, and financial success is the only metric that matters in our society. Working to become an artist, a writer, an entrepreneur, that’s crazy, irresponsible, and stupid. It’s a surefire route to failure. Or so we’re told. But your dreams are important. Dreams, hope, aspirations, these things keep us sane. They keep us going when life is determined to get us down. Nurturing your dreams keeps you alive, even helps you thrive. Even if you can only devote a few minutes a day, those few minutes can make all the difference.
Besides, in today’s economy the people expecting full time work and job security are just as likely to be disappointed as we are.
5. It can help you build other good habits
Learning to establish habits–at least good ones–is hard. Still, like everything else, developing a new habit becomes easier each time you do it. Once you’ve found a way to implement a regular writing habit, you’ll know how to get yourself motivated on creating all those other habits you’re supposed to have. Like, you know, exercising. (It’s okay, I don’t do enough of that either.)
Remember, you’re not superman(or superwoman). You can’t do it all. You have to make priorities. You have to be selective about what you do in your spare time. We all do. No matter how much we might wish for an extra four hours in our day, there will always be twenty-four. No more, no less.
In ten years, what will you regret? Will it be not spending enough time running errands for your family? Will it be that you didn’t spend enough time gossiping? Or will it be that half-finished manuscript you left buried on your hard drive?
I think we all know the answer.