“Ollin, I know you said that I should find little pockets of time throughout my day to get writing done, but that’s easier said than done. I got a full-time job, a family, and a whole slew of problems/responsibilities that require my attention. It’s just not easy to find time to write. What do you recommend I do?”
I’ve found that one of the biggest problems writers face is time. Specifically: the lack of it.
Part of the reason writers have such a difficult time making time for their writing is because they always tie the problem with a certain level of difficulty.
And this is the biggest mistake writers make.
Because, in truth, finding the time to write, and the level of difficulty required to find the time to write, are two separate problems—and two separate problems deserve two separate solutions.
If finding the time to write is your problem, then all you need to do is check out my article 4 Essential Elements of A Writing Schedule That Works For You to find an easy solution.
But, if your problem is that it’s very “hard” to find the time to write, then you’re going to have to stay with me here as I address this specific problem.
Wait A Minute: Who Said Finding The Time To Write Was Easy?
First of all: look at the quote at the very beginning of this article.
Notice how the struggling writer said:
“It isn’t easy to find the time to write,” and “It’s easier said than done.”
Do you see a repeat word there?
The word is “easy,” right?
Okay, so here’s the thing: you can find the time to write. You can always find the time to write. But, unfortunately, finding the time to write will NEVER be easy.
It will—pretty much—always be HARD. It will be HARD about 70% of the time, FRAKKIN’ HARD about 20% of the time, and REALLY FRAKKIN’ HARD about 10% of the time.
No one is saying that finding time to write is easy. We’re just saying that finding the time to write can be done.
So, stop expecting that finding the time to write will be easy, and instead expect that finding the time to write will be DONE.
Can you do that for me folks? Can you do that? Can ya?
And can you watch some shows on The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) while you’re at it? I’d hate to see that network go away due to poor ratings. I mean, watching OWN is like getting free therapy, every day, in your living room–that’s amazing. Why is it amazing? Uhhh, do you know how much actual therapy costs? A lot. So much so that even Oprah, a CA-ZA-BAZILLIONARE, has never gone to therapy in her life. (And how do I know that Oprah has never been to therapy? Because I watch A LOT of Oprah. Get over it. Leave me alone. It’s a free country.)
Okay. Where was I again? Ahem.
Repeat this with me now:
“I’m going to stop asking that finding the time to write be easy and simply ask that it get done.”
Say it with me now:
“I’m going to stop asking that life be easy, and simply ask that my life get done.”
If you stop asking that the writing process be easy, and simply ask that it get done, then you’ll finding yourself releasing so much stress, and you’ll avoid so much procrastination, that it’ll be “AH-MAH-ZING!” as Penny from Happy Endings would say.
(Okay, I gotta stop with these random pop culture references or I’ll risk becoming really annoying–and not totally adorkable like Jess from Fox’s new hit comedy New Girl. Nerds! I did it again!)
Your Job Is Not To Be Perfect. Your Job Is To Make Sure Things Don’t Fall Apart
In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey (shut up), George Lucas shared his experience directing the first Star Wars movie. He said that when he was directing Star Wars, he wasn’t trying to make a perfect movie, or a pop culture phenomenon. He was simply trying to make sure the whole thing didn’t fall apart. At one point, he recalled, the entire film crew threatened to quit on him. If that wasn’t enough, later on, Lucas himself was rushed to the hospital.
You see? Even George Lucas wasn’t trying to make a masterpiece when he made the first Star Wars movie. He was just trying to make sure that the whole thing didn’t totally blow. (Luckily, for us, he succeeded.)
As you can see, the job of an artist is not to make sure that the art gets done easily (as some might erroneously believe). No. The job of the artist is to make sure the art gets done.
The rest is out of our hands.
What The Tao Te Ching Says About People Who Look For The Easy Way Out
The Tao Te Ching, an ancient Chinese wisdom teaching, recommends that you should live your life expecting that every new challenge will be very difficult to overcome.
Because if you expect that every challenge will be difficult, and the day comes when you do confront a challenge, and it IS difficult, then you’ll be adequately prepared. The more you use this approach, the more you’ll end up discovering that life is fairly easy.
The Tao Te Ching also says that those who expect that everything in life will be easy for them often find that life is very challenging for them.
So, in order to go about life with greater ease, simply expect that everything in life will be hard. I now, it sounds paradoxical, but the more you think about it, the more you’ll recognize the spiritual genius behind it all.
Your New Mantra
The belief that finding the time to write should be “easy” is just another cruel trick you’ve been pulling on yourself to keep yourself from writing. Instead of writing, then, you keep postponing it because you keep waiting until the scheduling part of it gets “easy” (or so you tell yourself). But that’s never gonna happen because finding the time to write will always be hard. In this way, the belief that writing should be “easy” makes it hard for you to write in the first place.
What a vicious trick to pull on yourself, right? But it’s okay. It happens to the best of us.
To help you get rid of that unhelpful belief, try this new mantra on for size:
“I will tune into OWN programming from now on.”
No, I’m just kidding.
This is your new mantra:
“I will stop asking that the writing be easy. Instead, I will simply ask that the writing get done.”
Repeat this mantra often. Because as soon as you realize that finding the time to write is actually very hard, it will make things a whole lot easier for you.
much “and you get a new mantra, and you get new mantra, and you get a new mantra—you’re all getting a new mantra!!! HEY-OOOOO!!!”