The selfish writer?

I’m starting to realise that I need to learn to become more selfish if I’m to get anywhere with writing.

Now being selfish is normally sold as a bad idea, but sometimes we need to keep things to ourselves, rather than always seeking to share or give away. There’s lots of things I could be doing, lots of things I need to do, so in order to have time to write I’m going to have to be ruthless and learn to say no sometimes. It feels awful, that idea of taking precious¬†time and doing something like writing. I’ve been working on a paid technical writing project, and I’ve felt guilty even taking time for that, when I know it’s going to bring in money later down the line. The idea of taking time away from immediate income earning to spend sitting putting words together for fun, with little or no prospect of any real rewards, is seriously painful.

And yet… the idea of going on as I am, seeing other people pass that stage of struggling to write and getting on with the next stage, is also becoming painful. So I’m going to stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood and insist on taking some time to myself to get on with writing.

Exercise was a similar issue a year or so ago; now generally it’s part of my life, as I start most mornings with a swim and some mornings with a run as well. I accept that it’s part of feeling fit and healthy, and that the time spent on exercise is time well spent.

It’s time I got to that stage with writing. To making it a regular part of my life, so I feel like something is missing if I don’t. I’m getting to that point with morning pages, those few minutes when I write down whatever’s bothering me most at the start of the day. Now I need to build on that and develop a time for fiction writing and writing exercises as well as stream of consciousness thoughts. Time I started going through my ideas and getting them down properly. Time to follow through.

Time to be more selfish, perhaps. If I don’t take this time, no-one is going to give it to me. Sometimes if there’s things I need to do but don’t want to do, and things I want to do but don’t need to do, I’ll grind to a halt and do neither, just wasting time in make-tasks. But if I choose to sit sorting virtual socks or staring at the television instead of writing, then the time is gone. And if I don’t look after myself, who will?

 

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2 Comments

  1. Amen to everything here! If we don’t do it for ourselves, ain’t no one else going to hand it to us on a plate! Great post!

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