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Busting the writing myth of “not enough time”

When I get overly tired, I tend to do dumb things like walk into walls, trip going up the stairs, or bump my toe into a hard piece of furniture. Little things. Annoying things.

The day after Christmas, I could tell I was suffering from this state of fatigue because I walked into the bathroom door, I spilled aromatherapy oil on our piano, and as I picked up a picture frame from a bookshelf, the glass slipped out and sliced my finger on its way to the floor. Ouch. I lost a nice patch of skin from the side of my pinky finger and had to hold gauze on the wound for two hours to get it to stop bleeding. Double ouch.

I took the rest of the day off, realizing, a bit belatedly, that I needed to rest and regain my energy and motor skills.

In “Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams,” author Heather Sellers writes about how many would-be authors say they can’t finish their novels or writing projects because they don’t have enough time. She thinks this is the case of a misdiagnosis. In reality, she says, it’s not really time that is the issue but a lack of energy. I can relate to her diagnosis.

“You can’t write if you’re exhausted, distracted, ‘too busy,’ hectic and rushing around. Those states of being push writing out the window. If you’re drained, you won’t be able to sustain a creative life.”

Sellers is not talking about extraordinary commitments here. She’s talking about the day-to-day social interactions we have with those around us. “…it takes a lot of creative energy to engage in a conversation, deal with annoying people, make meals, please co-workers, entertain children, and tend to the very elderly.” Sellers calls this the Burden of Being Everything to Everyone (BBEE). I can relate to this, too.

So, how to you remedy this disease of BBEE? Sellers says to save part of yourself. Practice giving a little less of yourself. Practice saying no. When you find yourself literally losing pieces of yourself, like I did the day after Christmas, maybe it’s time to take Sellers’ advice and examine your life, your commitments, and those people and situations that drain your energy away.

Writing a book takes a lot of energy. So, save some for yourself and your book.

In my next post, I’ll share how I discovered what was draining me and my plan for changing my life so I can have more of my energy back in order to finish my work-in-progress.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh yes, the Burden of Being Everything to Everyone. Yes. That defines being a wife, mother, domestic goddess. (Cough cough!) After two weeks of the children being home for the holidays I feel wrung out physically, creatively and emotionally. I’ve learned to write regardless, through my daily writing challenge last year, but I know it’s not my best stuff.
    Taking time for yourself when you work from home, in between the laundry and the nursery/school run, is a challenge in conquering guilt. I agree, though, there is always a way. I found social media and rubbish TV were draining my energy, and I try and keep time spent on them to a minimum. If only there was a way to minimise the “Mummy, mummy, mummy…” 🙂

    January 2, 2014

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