All last week I looked forward to Sunday. My wife had to work for a few hours, and I was going to spend that time writing - some for the blog, some for a few other pieces I'm working on, some for fiction. I was going to sit down with my computer and a cup of tea and access all that creativity that's been pinned up inside.
Things I did Sunday instead of write:
1. Go to Costco. I mean, the price of organic frozen fruit at the grocery store is bananas, and how can we live without our smoothies? What else could I possibly eat for breakfast?
2. Make a huge vat of homemade pizza sauce from the tomatoes I froze during the summer. Honestly, I bill myself as this Little House on the Prairie-loving gardener-type. What would people think if I didn't make a big batch of something and can it?
3. Make homemade pizza dough. There is absolutely no store-bought pizza dough that's 100% whole wheat and doesn't add sugar, and how else are we going to eat the pizza sauce?
4. Wash dishes and load the dishwasher. All that cooking makes so many dirty dishes, and I can't just leave them there, can I?
5. Create a spreadsheet analysis of the different options for consolidating/refinancing my student loans. Okay, that's totally legit. They're out of control.
I will spend hours thinking about how I want to write. I will listen to writing podcasts as I drive to and from work. I will bemoan the lack of time for writing, and then when I could write, I will not write. All these other things pop up that I "need" to do. And what's frustrating is that, in the moment, I really do think I "need" to do them.
Why is it so hard to set aside time for writing?
I keep thinking that there's a deep psychological reason I haven't figured out yet, some key that will surface when I put the correct puzzle pieces together. But I never seem to find the right ones.
When I'm able to get up early in the morning, I have the most success at getting words on the page. Aside from sleeping, there's nothing else to interfere at 5:00 am. I'm not going to get out of bed and start making strawberry jam. And yet, though it is 5:22 am, and I'm here on the couch putting words into this machine, the early morning routine feels tenuous. I had it for so many months, and then I lost it. I have missed it, that quiet time just for me. And yet missing it has not made it easier to get out of bed in the morning.
I can't tell you how many times I've set the alarm for 4:30 or 5:00 and then woken up at 3:15 to turn over or go to the bathroom and thought Oh hell no. I am TIRED, and opened up my phone to turn off the alarm.
And it wouldn't matter - writing doesn't have to happen first thing in the morning - except that I will apparently do almost anything else during the day than sit down and write. It doesn't make a lick of sense because I long to write all the time. I think about writing. I come up with little snippets of dialogue or story lines or themes.
Don't even get me started about all the times I plan to write when I get home from work. At 10 am, when I'm thinking about an article idea while sitting in a meeting, that sounds perfect. At 7 pm when I pull into the driveway? All I want is to watch The Mysteries of Laura and eat a giant bowl of pasta.
I'm reaching out here for serious, folks: Are there things you love to do that you somehow never find time to do? Or, are you amazing at finding/making time to do the things you love to do? Tell me your secret. (I know it's not a secret. It's just making time to do it. But pretend it's a secret so I'll feel better!)
p.s. I spilled coffee in my J.B. Fletcher tote bag this week. Total fail.