“When do you find time to read and write?” A question I get asked a lot and it is one that doesn’t bother me all that much. I prefer that question to the statement I typically get which is “I could write a book, but I just don’t have the time.” I get that one a lot, and that one makes me mad.
Time is an odd thing, and while sometimes it appears to go by fast and others it seems to move slow, we all have the same amount of time. We each get 24 hours a day to spend pursuing whatever we want to. I know I have stated several times before that I am married with children and both my wife and I work. I am a full-time student as well as a writer and avid reader. This means that with our lifestyle we are forced to have order and some structure. For example, this morning I got up before my family did and went to work. I came home 12 hours later, kissed my family and came down to my office to do work while my two kids play in the room beside my office. This gives my wife a break from the tornados we created and gives me time to work. This is how most nights go. We work and keep up the house, we take time for each other as well as give time to each other to be alone. We have gotten into this structured lifestyle out of necessity, not because we wanted to.
This also means that those memes we see where writers say they spend half of their time searching the web and watching videos and they can spend 3 hours in front of a pc and get 0 writing done, this is not an option for me. It might take me a week to get a solid three hours of writing time, so I have to be able to jump right into it. When my pc gets turned on, and my word document opened its time to put some words on the paper and fast. This forces me to stay focused on what I am writing and to be ready to write and continue the story. When I read about a lot of the great writers and writers that can spit out 2 or 3 books a year, I notice that many of them we forced to work after their families had fallen asleep or after work. The made the most out of what little time they had so when they got more time they just got more done instead of slowing down.
Enough about me though, let's talk about you. I am willing to bet you have free time, and plenty of it, it just happens to be tied up somewhere. First thing I did was cut out TV, not entirely but I get about 30 min a day as I am laying in bed, falling asleep and usually reading while “watching.” I ended up quitting video games simply because I enjoyed writing and reading more. If you want to read, but you also want to watch TV, you have to decide which you want to do more. Its ok to not write every single day. It's not ok to stop writing for six months if you want to be a writer. If you want to read you will find time to read. You might and most likely will have to sacrifice the time from something else but if reading is important to you, make the time.
If you were in a relationship and you wanted it to work out, you would find the time to spend with them. Reading and especially writing is a relationship. You have to set aside a little time for you and your craft.
I don’t have any more time than anyone else. I just try to make the most out of what I have. I don’t always succeed but the more I fight for it, the better I get at it.
For those of you who don’t know, I am coming up to the end of undergrad for my Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. I will graduate here in just a few months. With studying writing and literature, I have taken many classes on Literary Theory. If you have never studied this particular topic, it is essentially like those cheap toys you get in kids meals. The toys that are the little red and blue lens and a tiny little picture that looks like a mess of blue and red. When you look through the blue lens, you see one picture, and the red gives you another. These theories are the same as the lenses. We look at one work of literature through different lenses to see different things. It is very interesting, but I recently found myself, over the last few months, having a hard time reading for fun. I pick up a book, and I just can’t get into it, or I can’t read more than a few pages at a time without utilizing one of the lenses to dissect it. This has removed the fun out of reading for me to some extent.
I told a friend about this issue I was having, and they told me a quote, forgive me I can’t cite it I am not sure where on earth it came from. But they a writer was in college trying to learn more about their craft, get a different angle if you will. Their own novel was the topic of a debate, and the teacher had them discussing what the author had meant when they wrote that the sky was blue. Different students gave different analytical answers that sounded very smart but then the author, the one who wrote the very story, raised their hand. The unknowing teacher called upon them, and the author replied: “The sky was blue, the color of the sky was blue.”
We might laugh at that, but it reminded me that I enjoy reading for a reason. It allows me to follow a story and leave the world behind. It is entertainment and sometimes thought-provoking. I was missing the fun and overthinking the entire art of reading. I am working on getting that passion back but refraining from allowing my mind to follow the rabbit's trail and getting lost in my own thoughts. I will simply enjoy the words on the pages as the writer intended.