How Not to Find Writing Time

We’ve probably all heard the conversation that starts with a writer complaining that they can’t find time to write, to which someone responds, “You don’t find time, you make it.” This makes perfect sense to me, after several years of squeezing more and more writing time into the cracks of a day job.

Then a few weeks ago, I read the column “How to Find, Rather Than Make, Writing Time“, in which a pullout quote says, in big print near the top, “Don’t feel pressured to give up things you enjoy—however mundane—to make time to write.”


Ok, she does clarify that she means you don’t *always* have to give up *everything* you enjoy, which is impossible for me to argue with, since a) it’d be hypocritical because I haven’t and won’t give up everything I enjoy, b) that would mean giving up writing since I enjoy it, and c) absolutes are always wrong.

What I really want to comment on is this suggestion: “Try to notice time in your day, even if it’s only 15 minutes, when you are not doing something you enjoy or something you have to do.” Reuse that as writing time.

Seems reasonable. Until I start thinking, what do I do that I don’t enjoy and don’t have to do? I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and have come up with:

  1. Installing the rain barrel in spring and removing it in fall–We don’t need a rain barrel, and hooking it up is not a barrel of laughs. However, I like having it and reusing rainwater, and this isn’t a lot of time, so I suspect it’s not a good source of more writing time. On the other hand, I haven’t set it up yet this year, so maybe that’s why I’ve been so productive.

That’s it. I was going to add taking out the compost, but I like seeing how things are decaying and looking at the cool bugs. I’d say housecleaning, but I already only do the parts that fall under “have to do” (and my parents don’t visit without warning). I’d also say “looking at the things my husband points out on FailBlog, especially if I’ve already seen them” but that is not a whole lot of time, is often fun, and is not exactly predictable. Maybe next time he says I should come look at something, I should reply, “No, and now I have to write two sentences.”

I suppose she really means things like aimless web surfing or playing little games like Angry Birds, where it might be moderately fun and interesting, but I could be doing something even more fun instead. And that is sound advice. (And I’ve cut my blog reading waaaay back over the past months.)

What do you do that you don’t have to do but isn’t enjoyable? Should you be writing me a comment about it, or writing your next scene?

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