When I first moved to Small Town, Tennessee, I thought I would have more time to write. In Chicago, I was distracted not just by my work but also by bike rides along the lakefront, free admission days at the museums, cheap tickets to plays, and neighborhood festivals.
In Small Town, on the other hand, there isn't much to do, unless you enjoy hanging out at Wal-Mart or watching sports. Many of my students are athletes, and on game days it seems like the whole town turns out to watch them play. I have about as much interest in sports as the Kardashians and the Duggars do in staying away from the cameras.
However, as I stated in my previous post, there is the pressure to accept at least a few of the social invitations that have been extended to me, which takes up a lot of time that I'd rather spend writing. There's also the fact that the classes I'm teaching are significantly larger than the ones I taught at other schools, which means I have to spend more time grading papers and answering e-mails from students who ask questions like, "Is it really necessary to buy the books for this class? Couldn't I just watch the film versions?" (I'm not making that up) or "Sorry I was absent for the last six classes. Did I miss anything?" (I wish I was making that up)
So unfortunately, I find myself with even less time to write than I did before. I still feel the urge to work on my manuscripts, which have been neglected for months due to my completion of my dissertation and my move to Tennessee. Every time I look at my unopened journal or glance at the files marked "Novel" in my computer, I feel tempted to drop everything else I'm working on and write. Grading papers and answering e-mails make me wish I was doing something more interesting, like pulling out every hair in my head. Writing fiction and creative nonfiction makes me happy.
I've read about other writers who make time to write by writing during their lunch breaks or by getting up early. Others give up activities like constant Facebook updates or television. So I've decided that I need to follow their example, or I'll never finish my manuscripts, let alone get the chance to publish them.
So I've realized that there are some things I need to limit, like my Law and Order marathons or my long drives to bigger cities when I feel claustrophobic in Small Town. I also need to discipline myself to stop checking my e-mail or watching YouTube videos every time I sit down at my computer.
I always felt contemptuous of writers like E.L. James, who published novels even though their writing was not very good. But they're still ahead of me, because they made the time to write, in spite of everything else that was going on in their lives. (On the other hand, I hope no one will think I'm mean if I say that I'd rather be unpublished for the rest of my life or be trapped in an elevator with the Kardashians AND the Duggars for an hour than write like E.L. James.)
What about you? How do you make time to write? That is, what kinds of things do you sacrifice or limit your time on, in order to have the time to write?
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