Back when my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas last month, the first thing that came to mind was “more time.” I would have also taken a chance to turn back the clock. But as neither of those were exactly viable options, I settled on more realistic things. You know, the kind that could be found on Amazon.
Getting back to why I immediately wanted the first two. I’m writing a lot now, trying to become a writer of stories as well as a blogger. I had wanted to write stories for a long time, and I explored it in college, taking creative writing classes. I was able to stick to stories when I was enrolled in such classes, but my commitment wavered when I wasn’t. Lack of confidence, feeling motivated, and a fair amount of sloth led me to not do as much story writing as I could have, which is why I’d like to turn back the clock and correct that mistake. The reason I wanted “more time” is because now I am pushing myself to write and could use it. Currently, I am working on a novel, a short story, and an article/book review (and this blog post), and yet I still feel I should be doing more.
This feeling I need to write even more coupled with the fact that I do indeed have other responsibilities that take up my time often leaves me feeling disheartened. But I always push on. I make time now, mostly by cutting back on the things I would like to do that aren’t really necessary. The policy I’ve developed for myself is that I should write whenever I have time. That’s literally “whenever,” meaning that I no longer spend my days as I would when I was younger, hanging out online or spending all my spare time reading, although reading is still important for writers and I do find time for that, too. However, the general rule is to write whenever I have free time, usually in the mornings from 8-10 and in the evenings from 6 onward with a dinner break if I have nothing else to do. I won’t claim I’m perfect. I feel like my writing projects should be more progressed than they are, that I should be able to write faster and with less writer’s block, and I can’t say I never allow myself to get distracted or otherwise tempted away from my work. However, I believe I am on the right track, and I always do some writing each day or risk feeling bad about myself and my lack of productivity.
I knew Christmas would be a big day, of course, and I was worried what that would mean for my writing. Like I just said, I feel more pressured to achieve a sense of productivity now, so I spent a while trying to figure out when I could work. There were to be presents in the morning and family friends coming in the afternoon for dinner, games, and hanging out.
When the day came, however, therewas never a good time to do that without seeming rude and I ended up spending the day with everyone. We opened presents, had enjoyable conversations, played a few games after and before dinner, and in the evening I watched an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 with my dad, an old tradition of ours back from when I was in college on winter break. Any feeling of regret at not writing that day was so small it was nearly insignificant. It was fun, like when I would hang out on YouTube, but certainly not wasteful; it made me feel good, about myself and life.
It is for these moments that we must sometimes break our rules. I’m not saying you can’t get pleasure and satisfaction from your goals and ambitions, but memories built with friends, family, or even those made by taking a break to enjoy something all by yourself are also important. You should be allowed to have a life.
It’s hard to find a working place between the two, but I think it’s better than living just for one.