Have you ever put something off, telling yourself, “I’ll do it someday when I have more time” but then never get to it?
I’m particularly good at putting off mending. In fact, a couple of years ago, one of my twins ripped a gorgeous dress, the kind with the black velvet top and gauzy skirt. I folded the dress neatly and placed it next to the sewing basket in the closet, assuring myself I would fix it when I had more time.
This summer—two years later—as I was de-cluttering the closet, lo-and-behold, I came upon the badly neglected dress. Obviously, my twins have now outgrown the beautiful garment. And as I cleaned out the messy closet, I decided I would keep the dress for my five year old to wear when she’s older. So there the dress continues to sit, waiting for me to sew it someday, when I have more time.
The question is, will I ever fix the dress? And the other question is, when will I ever have more time?
As I interact with other writers, occasionally I hear things like, “I’ll finish the book when my kids are older” or “I’ll devote more time to social media once I’m published” or “I’ll be able to do more writing and marketing once I quit my day job.”
The underlying assumption with each of these statements is that we’ll have more time at some nebulous point in the future to devote to our writing career. In reality, we’re likely only fooling ourselves. Here are three reasons why it’s a myth to think we’ll have more time someday:
1. Busyness will always haunt us, if we let it.
When we finish one activity, there will be ten other things needing our attention. Perhaps we’ll be able to quit our day job, but then maybe we’ll have more family responsibilities that need our attention. Maybe we’ll finish running our kids around during spring track season, but then we plunge headlong into all the summer activities.
The fact is, in a modern culture that’s obsessed with busyness, we can always find ways to fill our time, even when we’re not looking for them. The demands come knocking on our doors and grip us by the neck.
The best way to avoid over-committing is to keep the door closed on the busyness-ogre. We can set personal boundaries and limit what we do (and perhaps even limit our kids’ activities). We try to make ourselves feel better about the busyness by telling ourselves that we're giving ourselves and our kids “advantages” through all the activities. But in reality we’re gaining stress and often forgoing things that should be a priority.
2. We make time for the things that are important.
When we say we don’t have time for writing or marketing, we’re usually just making an excuse, aren’t we?
In the craziness of all the things competing for our attention, we CAN make time for the things that really matter to us the most. How many of us make sure we don’t miss our favorite TV programs every week? (I know I can always make time for mine!)
The reality is that if something is important enough to us, we’ll carve out a place in our lives for it. And the same is true of our writing. If we want to writing and publication badly enough, then we’ll have to give it the time it deserves. If we want to achieve a degree of success, then we’ll have to make time for the marketing too.
3. We can have all the time in the world and still squander it.
Published author life doesn’t give us more time. In fact, we often have more responsibilities to try to squeeze in the same work time we’ve always had. So in a sense we have less time to accomplish the demands.
I’ve learned that often when I do actually have more free time, I’m not as motivated, I’m more lackadaisical, and frequently don’t accomplish as much. When my schedule is full, I find that I need to budget my time better, work more diligently, and can usually get quite a bit done.
My Summary: It’s not always about how much time we have, but rather how we use it.
What do you think? Have you ever believed the myth that you’ll have more time someday? Do you make excuses for why you’re not accomplishing your writing goals? What’s been the biggest obstacle for making time?
*P.S. Thank you to everyone who has signed up so far to be a part of the blog tour for The Doctor's Lady!There's still time to sign up! If you'd like to participate and receive a promotional copy of the book, please email me at jodyhedlund (at) jodyhedlund (dot) com. Or use my Contact Page.