Every writer knows that time is always more precious than money, and like many others out there, I’ve spent a hell of a long time developing the kind of career that will allow me to focus on my ‘passion projects’ whilst covering the bills.
But as numerous successful professional writers have told me, it really doesn’t matter what you do for a living – you can even be comfortable enough to not need to work, have little or no family commitments and all the time in the world and you may still find that you can’t write a word.
The physical act of putting pen to paper is only the final phase of writing; the real magic is sparked by the way you observe your own interior universe as well as the world around you. Your perspective is unique, and it’s your ability to bring your ideas from the hazy edges of your imagination and give them solid form that will lead to the discovery of ‘personal voice’. When you can observe the formation of your perspective in action and record it in language that is accessible to others, and when you can inspire an understanding of your ideas in your readers, you will in my opinion have succeeded as a writer.
For me, meditation and practice of mindfulness techniques hold the key to a huge pool of creative energy that has my pen racing across the page to keep up with the ‘light bulb moments’ in progress. When I’m able to stay present in each moment, none of the mundane clatter of everyday life matters. It’s no longer an insufferable distraction that keeps me from writing, because each moment that passes contributes in some way or another to an aspect of my story.
The last year and a half has been incredibly busy and stressful career-wise for me, and at times I’d be pulling my hair out with frustration at the long hours, the stress and the uncertainty that I felt was always keeping me from writing. But by staying with those feelings and experiencing my circumstances as if I was living a story, I began to discover that I always did have time to write, whether it was a few minutes on a bench after the morning commute at rush hour, seconds grabbed to note down a few words during the craziness of the working day or just trigger words scrawled on the back of receipts that would remind of what I wanted to write next. And yes this may be nuts, but I even talk to myself and record it using an app on my smartphone, which I connect to my headphones and happily babble away to myself whilst getting stuff done! When you do manage to get half an hour to put all this together, you’ll suddenly realise that you’ve finished a draft of a chapter!
You don’t need time to write, you just need presence.