Sometimes, it is easy to forget about the writing life.
When I was working as a journalist, I wrote and/or edited every single day. The idea of going home and doing more of what I did all day didn’t appeal to me.
Fast forward. Teaching. Raising three daughters. Going to school. Life is hectic and it leaves little room for the writing life.
Analysis of time
There are several video games I enjoy. I like massively multi-player online games (World of Warcraft, Eve Online). But there is one strategy turn-based game I can’t get enough of. Its Total War: Empire.
Talk about a killer of the writing life.
I logged in via Steam one day, and it said something crazy like I’d played 418 hours or something.
I thought about it. At 200 words an hour (I can often write much faster), 418 hours represented a novel that went unwritten.
Time sinks are everywhere. Video games. Working on my stamp collection. Dating. They’re all over the place.
So I sat back (yes, wasting more time), and analyzed how I was spending my time. It amazed me how easily writing time got pushed aside for all sorts of activities.
We all have a need for balance. Exercise is important. So is reading, human interactions, and other hobbies.
However, the point of this post is to say that those people who do not have time to write simply aren’t prioritizing writing.
Honestly, while it is important to engage in a bit of leisure time, how many times can I turn to the game and defeat the French on the battlefields of colonial North America?
At some point in time, there has to be a reckoning. How you spend your time is a reflection of what you value. If your nightly Netflix habit is tracked in multiple hours, maybe you don’t really value writing.
Or maybe if you raid hours and hours each week, your priorities aren’t the work. I have no issues if you are a gamer, just don’t tell me you are a writer who has no time when you play World of Warcraft 30 hours per week.
Like a lot of writers, my first published piece (fiction) came about after years of hard work. Years of practice. And it is still developing.
I can’t develop those skills sitting in front of a game or the boob tube, can I? It’s about priorities.