Take Your Time

1267744_87396573It wasn’t so long ago that I was a person who kept her calendar in stone. I did not flake, bail, ghost, disappear, get busy, or “forget.” If I said I was going, I went. Period. End of story.

I was that person, right up until the day I wasn’t.

I remember it vividly. I was supposed to meet up with a group of writer friends to do what groups of writer friends usually do: drink and talk about why none of us were writing as much as we wanted to. Like Tolstoy’s happy families, all our excuses were the same. They all boiled down to this: life. We were all busy with significant others and children and groceries, mothers bombarding our voicemails and jobs that spilled into the weekends, and the never-ending task of trying to keep our apartments from looking like hamster cages.  As I walked to our usual watering hole, it occurred to me that I was doing this wrong. I shouldn’t be hanging out with my writing friends. I should be writing.

So, I texted the ringleader and said I was out. Something came up. And I went off by myself and dug back into my book. It was glorious.

I’d heard people say before, “take time for your writing.” When I first heard it, it sounded so easy, like waiters with trays of hors d’oeuvres wandering around a party inviting me to take a piece. “Care for some writing time?”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

No. Life is not full of little bits and pieces of writing time ripe for the taking. You have to TAKE IT. By any means necessary. Pull a pair of pantyhose over your head, load up your gun, and TAKE IT like cash from a liquor store. And once you have it, don’t look back. There will always be other things you could be doing.  Things that seem more practical or more urgent or more fun. The book will always be there tomorrow.

When I find myself in those situations, I ask myself: is my writing important to me, or isn’t it? Do I choose to make it a priority, or not? If not, it’s time to admit it, throw in the towel, and stop torturing myself about it.

But if it is a priority, then it is worthy of my time. And I will TAKE time for it.

5 comments

  1. Lisa Birk

    You are so right! It takes a certain ferocity to grab that time–and that’s not always a comfortable feeling. And then you have to keep grabbing it, persisting past more discomfort. Love the line about imagining time as waiters passing hors d’oeuvres.

  2. Cynthia Johnsona

    Amber, the thing of it is when you take time for your writing you begin to take more time for yourself. It spills into the natural self-care and nurturance that’ we, so often, give to others. Good for you!

  3. Stephanie Gayle

    You have to take it because until someone is breathing down your neck for a new book, no one is and all that motivation and drive has to come from you. So grab it, Amber. Grab that time.

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