A friend recently told me that she is constantly finding reasons not to write. I replied that I am just the opposite. For over 20 years I’ve left the lunch table, moved upstairs to my office and began to write. There I remain until five or six o’clock, rain, shine, cold, hot. Well, you know the rest.
Thursday my computer finally drew a big sigh and said, “I can’t do this anymore,” and stopped cooperating. No amount of button pushing would persuade the stubborn outfit to work for me. So there I was. Two contracts, deadlines on articles and a column to write.
Years ago I bought an Alpha Smart, long before I bought my laptop, which had just fizzled out on me. So I dragged Alphie out only to discover that I’d inadvertently left the batteries in it from the last use and they’d spilled acid all over the place. So, I took the back off, fetched a toothbrush and some alcohol and cleaned up the mess, inserted new batteries and turned on that faithful little machine.
With plenty of research to do for the books I’m working on, I set out right after lunch on Friday for the public library 21 miles away. Spent the afternoon typing notes and squirming around in a chair made to torture. Wanted to ask one of the librarians if they used those uncomfortable wooden chairs to dissuade us from spending too much time in research, but held my tongue. I might need their good will again soon.
Saturday I spent going through papers and books in my own library to find more information and continued to fill Alphie’s files. Sunday our grandson came over to take a look at my laptop. Surely he’s so bright he can fix it right away. But my hopes were dashed when he told me something was out of whack with my RAM and it only showed 220 mb, way too low for Windows XP to run programs. Not something he could fix.
Okay, there’s nothing to do but take it to the computer doctor, another 21 mile one-way trip, but in the meantime, deadline on my column loomed. So, against my better judgment I sat down at my hubby’s computer to see if I could coax it into word processing when it’s set up for games and flying, his hobbies. Sunday, I rewrote the column that was in my laptop, which I had just managed to finish when it gave up the ghost (so of course it wasn’t on a backup disk yet) and hurriedly mailed the finished column. Sure didn’t want to miss that paycheck.
Now it’s Monday, and we awake to dire warnings of an ice storm on the way. So, we jump into the car with laptop and software and hurry to town, leave it with our computer doctor and hurry home. As we close in on 12 miles to go, the windshield shows us mist and our weather indicator in the car starts flashing ICE at us. We made it with minutes to spare, and now I’m again back at my hubby’s faithful machine trying to catch up on a huge backup of emails and get some blogging done while the promised ice builds on tree branches.
Since the warnings are dire, I expect to have to go back on Alphie by tomorrow as they are saying we won’t have power once that 1/2 inch or more of ice forms on power lines and trees. But, true to what I told my friend, I can’t “not write.” It’s impossible for me to allow a day to go by without writing. (except Sunday) I know everyone needs a break now and then, even from something they love as much as I love to write.
So the next time you say you don’t have any spare time to write and you put it off for every little reason you can think of, then maybe you don’t love it as much as you should. Writing is a crazy business and something you can’t force. Nor can you wait for the muse to hit. True writers write, and they do it regularly, unless both arms are in a cast. I once had my arm in a sling for two weeks, but I still wrote every day, though doing so was difficult because I’m a touch typist who almost has to have both hands to use a keyboard.
The best thing you can do for yourself is set a schedule to write and stick to it, even if it’s only an hour each day. Don’t wait for spare time, or for an idea to germinate. Sit down, put your fingers on the keys and type words. Nonsense if you have to until something springs forth from the well of creativity.