It took me over two months to write my newest manuscript (it’s now waiting to be edited.) But, truthfully, it didn’t take that long to write. It took that long to get written. Why? Because I had a lot of excuses. I had book covers to do. I had family crisis to deal with. I had a house to clean. I had dishes to do. I had a dog that had to go out constantly. I had a thousand million things to do for other people… and of course all of that was more important.
But here is an interesting thought. Let’s say that instead of being an independent writer, I worked at a job outside the home. Unless I took days off, that family crisis and those book covers and all the rest of it would have had to wait until I got home. All the dishes, all the laundry, all the phone calls, all the fetching and taking care of and all of the emergency emails I got from people would have had to just sit. But, because I’m home all day that makes my writing a hobby, not work.
Says who? Writing is work. Just because we don’t punch a time card or drive to another building doesn’t make it any less. We know this, so why do we let other people or other things distract us from it? If we want our writing to be treated like it’s a job, then we have to act that way, too. That may mean that someone has to wait for us to do something. That might mean that someone has to cook their own dinner, or do their own laundry. It could even mean that older children or spouses have to help around the house, or even babysit the younger children for a couple of hours a day. After all, if you were working outside the home those things would have to happen, so why shouldn’t they happen now? I’m not talking about real emergencies, or disasters, like hospitalizations, but the day to day things that we “have to do” because “no one else can”. Truthfully, is it really going to hurt Johnny Jr. to give up an hour of his TV or video game time and do some of the dishes? Or for our spouse to have to make dinner sometimes?
No. It isn’t.
If we want other people to take our writing as a serious job and not just a hobby, we have to take – and treat – it serious. It isn’t necessarily life that needs to change, but perhaps how we react to it and how we order our priorities. In the end, we get what we put in. If all we ever make are excuses, then excuses are all we’re going to have, and those don’t sell very well.