For the past two decades or so, I’ve struggled with that all-too-familiar question: How to find the time to write? I’ve pretty much tried all the tricks: scheduling writing on the calendar, going on retreats, the 15-minutes a day plan, writing at night when the kids went to sleep… They all failed, but that last one was the worst. It turns out I really need my sleep. I got extremely mean and nasty when I didn’t get enough – to the point where even I didn’t like being around me, to say nothing of my husband and kids. In short, in twenty years of struggling to find the time, I never won.
But while I haven’t found the time, I also haven’t given up. I’ve managed to do some “low level” writing – a few stories that I’ve written and filed without submitting, some short articles for on-line magazines. I keep going to SCBWI conferences. I read. I edit for my writing group, the wonderful women in The Writer’s Web. And I’ve studied this group closely. The ones with children older than mine have been my real inspiration. I’ve watched what has happened when their kids left for college, and their job of active parenting wound down. It has been edifying and heart-warming to watch their craft improve and their writing blossom.
I think that each of us comes to this planet with some lessons we have to learn, some pieces that our soul needs to work on. Everyone is different, but for me, it has felt like one of my pieces was acceptance: acceptance in putting my loved ones first, acceptance that the time for my writing will come, and acceptance that waiting for that time did not mark me as a failure.
Now, with our youngest heading off for college soon, my quest to find the time to write is nearly over. There is not much more I can do to mold our children’s personalities, or teach them more knowledge and skills and techniques in dealing with the world. That time has past. I may have lost twenty years of skirmishes in the battle to find the time, but I’ve held on.
And in simply holding on, and not giving up on this dream, I feel like I’ve finally won the war.