Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing sacrifices

Writing involves blood, sweat, and tears. Mostly tears, really. I cry a lot.

But seriously, in order to write often and effectively, I've had to make some tweaks in my lifestyle. One of the biggest cop-outs wannabe writers fall victim to is the myth of "I don't have enough time to write." This excuse, which is right up there with "writer's block" in its absurdity, is often complete bunk. Yes, there are days when it's hard to find time to write, but most of the time, it's a question of desire and commitment.

I haven't sacrificed all that much--I know there are writers out there who've sacrificed much, much more than I--but I have given up a few things in order to maximize my writing time.

The Xbox 360. I've always been a big fan of video games. They're a fun diversion, but they're also a gigantic time suck. I found myself investing way too much time and effort on them. I play on occasion, but I'm no longer involved in any big multi-player events or anything like that. The Xbox is mostly used for Netflix these days.

Fantasy sports. When the NFL season starts, I'm usually the guy with three different teams. One year, I ordered a sweatshirt with the logo for my fantasy football team on it. I'm a big-time fantasy sports guy. But fielding a good team means researching, setting lineups, and scanning the waiver wire. I went cold turkey last football season. I didn't even fill out a March Madness bracket. I'm not sure whether I should be proud or weep uncontrollably.

Television. My DVR is usually full of shows that haven't been watched. After noticing this, I cancelled several programs with scheduled recordings. I've been spending so much time writing, I haven't had time to keep up with most shows (not even, lamentably, "Chuck"). I keep a few series on reserve and do watch some shows, just not as many as I used to.

Time with friends. Here's one I'm not proud of. I have become so consumed with writing in the last year that I haven't planned many activities with my friends. They're just as busy as I am, yet I haven't planned a dinner date or a movie or anything like that. It's probably a good thing for them, anyway...if we were to get together, I'd probably just talk about writing all the time...

Reading. Since I was a kid, I've been a ravenous reader. Unlike my wife, who's somehow capable of juggling three books at once, I'm usually a got-one-book-gotta-finish-it type. My reading has slowed to a crawl since putting a greater emphasis on my own writing. On the plus side, I've read a lot of short stories.

The Flying Trapeezius. A few friends and I started a blog back in 2005 that often lampooned sports, movies, pop culture, and other stuff we love. At the beginning of the year, I started shifting the focus of TFT toward my writing pursuits. I started to dominate TFT with writing-based content and decided it was time to go my own way. I spent the past weekend trying out a new blog design and making my own author blog where I'll pretty much do everything I did on TFT.

Sleep. My prime writing hours tend to be after I get home from work. Once I get on a roll, I don't want to stop. Some nights, I write from midnight till 4 or 5 in the morning. I end up going to bed and getting several hours of sleep without feeling very refreshed; on occasion, I get up early and start writing right away.

What about you? What have you had to give up in order to free up time for writing?