I was at a lunch party last week. It was being held to celebrate the end of the sailing season so many of the people there spend their weekends and free time sailing competitively.
So I was sitting with this man and he asked me what I did – I said I was a professional writer. Now I’ve learned to say this rather than just writer as otherwise the next question is always ‘Oh, what a lovely hobby, have you had anything published? Anything I might have heard of?’
I haven’t spent 20 years busting a gut writing over 30 books to be told it’s a lovely little hobby.
Imagine asking an architect has she designed any buildings recently. Any buildings I might have heard about? Or 'Oh you’re an accountant, how interesting. Have you done any sums recently?'
But then he said the one thing that’s like a red rag to a bull for me: ‘I’d write a book if I had the time’.
I didn’t snarl at him. It was a very polite party. I took a deep breath and said ‘It may not be a priority in that case.’
He looked a little confused so I continued. ‘If you really wanted to write a book you’d find the time. You spend your weekends sailing, I spend most of my free time writing.’
And to give him credit he didn’t excuse himself and run away quickly, he said ‘Actually, you’re probably right. Maybe it’s not top of my list at the moment.’ And he told me about a TED clip about time and using it wisely. Nice man in fact, very engaging to talk to.
After the party I watched it and it makes so much sense – it’s by Laura Vanderkam and she’s written a book about time management and using your time wisely. You can find the clip at the end of this blog post.
Laura and I both believe the same thing – that if you want something badly enough, you’ll make the time.
For many years now I’ve been teaching and mentoring children’s writers and many of them have packed lives – they are pilots, librarians, teachers, business women; they are minding children with extra needs or caring for parents. Yet they make the time to write and attend classes or mentoring sessions.
They make writing their top priority.
If you meet me at a party and tell me you’d love to write if you had the time – and yet you find the time to sail, or watch tv, or hang out on Facebook – good luck to you!
Yours in writing,