If your paid nine to five job is to write articles or blog posts or summaries, then of course you’re going to be writing articles or blog posts or summaries, or whatever you’re paid to write from nine to five.
But for those of us who have side writing projects – pieces or endeavors we’re inspired to work on that don’t give bi-weekly financial gratification – finding the motivation to commit to them can be difficult.
Sometimes it can even feel downright impossible.
After all, there’s your regular job, your family life, your social circle, your basic chores and your need for sleep. Writing-junky and professional editor or not, I’m the first person to admit that these areas are important aspects of your existence and shouldn’t be shunned.
But maybe they could be curbed a little?
If you have small children like babies or toddlers, you’re out of luck in that department. They need your attention when they need your attention. However, there are ways to politely tell other family members that you need a little alone time.
It’s quite simple when it comes down to it. Though feel free to practice these lines in the mirror if you’re nervous:
“Sweetheart, I just need 20 minutes to myself tonight.”
“Honey, Mommy needs to get a few pages written today. Do you want to get your coloring book and work beside me for a little while?”
“Babe, you know I love you, but I really need to get tomorrow’s blog post put together. It shouldn’t take me more than an hour. Then I’m all yours.”
Notice a common theme amongst those statements – how each one is only committing to a certain amount of time or a certain amount of pages.
Perhaps half an hour to flesh out that blog idea you keep thinking about during the day, or an hour every Saturday to work on your book project: the one about healthy eating or what’s wrong with our political attitudes or your struggle with depression.
There’s no pressure to pull all-nighters or completely forsake important relationships; just acknowledgement that there’s another important something you need to do as well.
Establishing those expectations is possible.
So too is telling those friends you saw on Friday night that Monday evening needs to be yours, free and clear.
As for the chores, maybe don’t put them off quite so long by diving into your Twitter feed or scrolling through Instagram. Just get right to them. Then use the time you didn’t waste to write something profound.
Don’t bother telling me that social media isn’t a waste of time. It is. As someone said to me recently, there’s a difference between liking someone’s Facebook status and maintaining an actual relationship with them. In which case, there are better things to do than stalk your online “friends.”
The truth is that we waste a ton of time every day. If we could somehow record what we did with each 24-hour period we’re granted, we might be horrified at how much power we give to our entertainment choices.
This isn’t meant as a condemnation for anyone who enjoys the occasional Netflix binge, or a weekly TV show or two. Personally, I can’t wait until certain premieres debut.
Come back to me Blacklist!!!
Yet how much TV are we really watching a week? Three hours? 10? More?
Is it actually refreshing us? Giving us entertaining breaks from our routines and affording us rest after a long day of work? Or could we possibly be killing off our potential to write great things?
In that light, maybe the question we should be asking ourselves isn’t whether we can afford to work on our side writing projects. Maybe it’s whether we can afford to not work on them.