It’s truly incredible how many distractions there are in a single day. For me as a new mom and working a full-time job, I can tell you that there are too many distractions – from the baby crying, to social media, to work drama, to remembering to take the trash out, pay that bill, or call back a friend who has left you five messages and wants to make sure you are still alive. Sometimes the distractions are not necessities and more so things you want, such as just wanting to veg out, watch TV and put your feet up after a long day at work. Believe me, there are more distractions than I can count and I am getting overwhelmed just thinking about them all. However, this past week I read a blog post by Hugh Howey http://www.hughhowey.com/so-you-want-to-be-a-writer/ (a post I highly recommend) that made me realize that perhaps it’s not the distractions that are stopping me from writing, but instead I have made those distractions as my excuses to NOT write. I have said these things in my head so many times:
“I can’t write now because I have to clean up after the baby.”
“I can’t write because I want to watch this new great documentary on Netflix and want to relax.”
“I can’t write because I need to….”
The excuses go on and on. I realized my brain was stopping me from doing what my heart truly wanted to do. Was I subconsciously sabotaging myself? I wanted to write. I had ideas that needed to be put down before I forgot them; I had a responsibility to share these ideas and stories but I didn’t want to put in the work and get my a$$ into gear. Why was I my own worst enemy?
So this week I took a good look at my day to see where I could squeeze out some time to start writing again. I noticed something interesting. True most of the day was jam-packed with necessities that I could not change. I still had to go to work, put the baby to bed, eat something and not pass out. However, many of the distractions (i.e. TV, surfing the internet, going on Facebook) I realized were distractions that I could cut out and instead use that time for writing. I mean, did I really need to share a post on FB about the snow? I mean, everyone knew it was the 2nd biggest blizzard in NYC history! It looked like I had a good 2.5 hours of time that I could dedicate each night to writing. It looked great on paper, but then that voice in my head started its rebuttal. I decided to ignore the voices in my head and try it out and see if it worked.
And I failed miserably.
Well not entirely. True, I didn’t use the full 2.5 hours dedicated to just to writing, I mean, things happen in life that you don’t expect and no day is alike! The baby went to bed later than usual and after getting the food prepared for daycare for the following day I sat down with my laptop and stared at a blank screen for like 10 minutes because I didn’t know where to begin since my mind kept wandering over the list of “Things to Do” to make sure I didn’t forget anything. So finally I gave up on the new story and instead opened up a previously written story that I needed to proofread and edit. OK, it wasn’t writing, per say, but I did some very important re-writing and editing and it was more than I had hoped to accomplish in a short hour. I was proud of myself.
I took some lessons from my baby and last night I took baby steps toward my new goal. Sure, I wish they were giant leaps but they were steps just the same and tonight I hope to try to get a little further and maybe do some editing, or maybe start that story and not stare at a blank page. Because at the end of the day I know what I want and that is to be a writer. And the only way to be a writer is to write. So no more excuses. It’s time to make time to write.