I have no free time. I get up at 4:37am every day and I’m running all the way until I collapse into bed sometime after 10pm. Between the day job, kids’ events, yard work, house work and any other multitude of things, my “free” time is that which I spend at the gym in the morning, running or lifting and making myself miserable for some reason I haven’t yet defined.
What that leaves me with is no time to write.
And that’s okay. I mean, I have a day job that pays the bills, writing is a hobby at this point because I can’t make that leap to where I’m ready to try to make a living at it. So I know the world isn’t going to end just because I can’t find an hour to write today. Not very many people will lose sleep over the fact that I haven’t published a story to my blog in a while. The sun will likely still come up tomorrow morning even though Microsoft Word didn’t get pulled up and typed into for something other than the daily TPS Report at work.
But, as I thought about typing that paragraph releasing myself from the guilt of not writing, it dawned on me that the more I thought about reasons why it was okay for me to not write today…the more reasons I could come up with for not writing today. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy to some extent: my schedule is full, so I can’t write. I can’t write because my schedule is full. My schedule says I can’t write. My schedule…. Hmm… I can’t write.
I know I am not the only person suffering through thoughts and schedules like this. And I also recognize that every day I am finding it easier to just let the “I have no time” excuse wash over me and become my default, go-to excuse for writing, for listening to music, for watching the game on TV…for anything I *like* to do but know I probably shouldn’t do because of all the other things I have to do. Admit it: you know exactly what I’m talking about.
So today, I want to take a stand against this thought pattern. Today, I want to write. Even if just for a few minutes. Sometimes, the key to getting a story started is, well, to start it. So my challenge to myself and to you is simple:
Wherever you are right now, be it on a train commuting to work or school, in a cubicle at the office, at a table in your favorite local coffee shop, or on the spot on your living room couch which is shaped perfectly for you and no one else to sit in… wherever you may be, look around you. Look out the nearest window and then write down what you see. Look at the desk next to you and describe what’s in the mug in the corner. Take note of the person who is sitting alone, who never talks to anyone at all and write about what he or she is thinking about. Do this and write it down. Write a paragraph or a page, 50 words or 100 words or 1000 words. This challenge isn’t about the quantity or even the quality, it is about getting the first words down on the page.
So who’s with me? What do you see outside your window today?