Thursday, August 23, 2012

Writing distractions by Terry Burns

I've gotten enough of the negative campaigning by both political parties, name-calling, half truths, inuenndos and outright lies. I said something about it online, and then wrote a personal blog on it on my website. I want the character assassination to stop and for them to get down to talking about issues . . . how they are going to fix this country.One lady agreed with me, then went on to say that Republicans should wear white hoods so we would know them for what they are. Oh yeah, she got what I was saying.

But my purpose here is not to get political on a literary site. The point I am leading up to is all this has me very distracted. At the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference we were talking about writing time, and one of the biggest thieves of this time is distractions.

I've heard it all of my writing life. "When the kids grow up and move out I'll have time to write."

"When I retire I'll have plenty of time to write."

"When I finish doing (insert big project here) I'll have lots of time to write."

There is never time to write. We don't have it now, and we aren't going to magically have it down the road when some big life change event happens. Life expands to fill available time. Writing time has to be carved out of whatever we are doing at the time and jealously protected. That can be difficult if those in our life haven't "gotten it" yet and aren't helping us to do it. If we aren't getting that support at home we have to take steps to get those closest to us to see that we are serious about our writing, that it isn't just our newest hobby.

I've been lucky. The two people closest to me in my life 'got it.' Mom was the one that really pushed me to write in the first place and was my biggest supporter. I'm so happy she got to see me achieve some measure of success at it before she passed away. My wife, Saundra, is the strongest supporter a man could want. Both of them not only would help me carve out the writing time, but would get on me if I wasn't doing it.

These days writing has to a large extent given way to working as an agent, spending my time trying to get the work of my clients out instead of writing myself. I still get to write some but for the most part my focus has changed. But I still have to work to carve out the time for it because life is still there, still expanding to fill my time, and distractions are still rampant, like social networking . . . and political campaigns.


Linda Glaz said...

Oh, yes. And with a home office, you have to really treat it as if you were working off site. Because the phone rings with a friend's "urgent" request and the spouse stop by to talk about his day when yours is really just starting in earnest. Distractions are the biggest pac mans. They munch away at work time.

Amanda Stephan said...

I admit it. I've wondered if my writing time will grow when our children graduate. You've taken me to task, and I am duly reprimanded. AS well as encouraged. Thank you for the call to action. My plan of action? Going to set aside time for it and guard it jealously!

sally apokedak said...

Great post. I'm so distracted all the time. I'm always feeling like I'm behind these days. I think I need to carve back on some of my volunteer stuff.

Either that or my blog reading. :)

Davalyn Spencer said...

Waiting for time to write is like waiting for enough money to afford having a baby.

I once heard a writer's workshop speaker declare that Frank Peretti (a personal friend of his) spent one hour a night writing This Present Darkness.

It can be done - we just have to c hip away at it. Thanks for the encouraging blog.

"Life expands to fill available time." What a great quote. Just like a woman's purse. No matter how big or small, it's always full.

And I'd almost be tempted to vote for anyone who ran non-bashing ads.

Jennifer said...

This is so true! I thought last year when we "retired" from farming and I turned to writing full-time, it would be a breeze to find time to write. Not so. I have to still work hard to carve out time...

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Terry, I love this post as I can identify with so much of what you said. I've been through family deaths, moves, family members fighting cancer, stress from my job, but I can honestly say that through it all the most difficult time I've had in struggling to write has been this summer with the return of my daughter's epilepsy. The challenge is great, but I keep trying to put one foot in front of the other. I know I can't give up.