This will be my obligatory “rant about finding the time to write” column. It seems like I write something like this every year. So, if you’re not wanting to read something along those lines, then you’ve been warned.
On March 9, I had this idea to pick up and write a short review on a pair of Stephen King books that I spotted on my bookshelf. They’re a pair of books that utilize the same characters, but they exist in different storylines. The interesting thing is that they’re written by two different authors. Those books are “The Regulators” by Richard Bachman and “Desperation” by Stephen King. And before you come at me with the fact that Bachman and King are the same person, I understand this.
When I opened “The Regulators”, I found an old bookmark. I don’t know about you guys, but when I use a bookmark, I don’t use the traditional bookmark. I use random things like pens, receipts, and other random pieces of paper. The paper in this book was a food order form we used to use at my old job. On the back of the form, I had written my work hours for that week, whenever that was. I wasn’t surprised to find that the total for the week was 42.4 hours. It’s a bit ironic that for a book called “The Regulators” it would give me proof that even a decade later I’m still regularly working more than average.
When I opened “Desperation” I found an old Transpo bus ticket. The bus ticket was issued at 5:28 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9, 2010. Which was exactly 12 years ago. If you don’t believe me, I made a Facebook post when I discovered that strange coincidence, so it’s timestamped and everything. I can tell you, from that date and time, that I was living in South Bend with my wife. We had her parents, brother, and three dogs living with us at that time. Five people and three medium sized dogs in a tiny two-bedroom home. This was also less than a year after we were married, by the way.
At the time, we didn’t own a car, so we had to rely on public transportation to get us where we needed to go. I had to be at work early in the morning, so I had to wake up early, walk about fifteen minutes to the closest bus stop, and wait for the bus. It’s been a decade, but I still remember those bus rides. Even though it was a hassle and, most times, an inconvenience, I cherished those few moments of peace and quiet. Those two bus rides each day allowed me respite from an overloaded home and a college full of people. It allowed me time to read, time to write, or just time to sit and contemplate my life. It’s a little bit ironic that a read a book called “Desperation” back when I was desperate for some time to myself.
Don’t worry, I also have Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” blaring in my head right now.
Fast forward twelve years and I find myself still working more than normal, but I’m no longer married and living without that house full of people. However, I’m still craving more isolation time. It seems that even though I isolated myself more, my schedule is still extremely busy. What’s that quote about the more things change, the more they stay the same? That’s about right.
I remarked to a younger friend of mine that he should cherish the days where he’s got nothing to do. I know I long for the days where I could sit outside for hours reading a book. For that reason, and that reason alone, I enjoyed when Indiana and most of the world shut down during the pandemic. Please, don’t mistake what I’m saying. I hated 99 percent of everything about COVID-19 and what it did to the world. Having said that, I liked that it slowed everything down. I actually got the opportunity to sit outside, read a book, and watch the sun set on more than one occasion. I haven’t done that since things started to “get back to normal.”
It’s gotten to the point where I don’t tell people when I do have a night off. For example, this Saturday I don’t have any plans. That’s a rarity. The only thing I would like to do that night is to brew copious amounts of coffee and read a book. Maybe even dust off my PlayStation 4 and play a video game.
It’s not that I don’t like people or hanging out with friends. Because I do, but I haven’t had a night where I’m just by myself (and not working) in a very, very long time. I’m always doing something, be it at work or spending time with friends, or helping a relative with some random tasks.
Being sociable is…exhausting. I honestly don’t know how extroverts do it all the time.
But here’s the thing. I’ll probably end up writing. I’ve got plenty to do in that category. My work away from work. I’ve been delaying editing my collection of short stories I’m trying to self-publish and there’s always book 4 in the series I’m writing. I’ve got to dust that one off eventually.
If I’m being honest with all of you, those that managed to get past all of my ranting, finding the time to write isn’t hard. It’s super easy. What’s not easy is the discipline to make time to write. Sure, I’d love to relax with a good book. Or play Dungeons and Dragons with some friends every Friday night. Or work until I collapse. All of those things sound like fun.
But is that my purpose in life?
Have you identified your purpose in life? And if so, are you doing it? If you’re not, then is it because you haven’t scheduled your time appropriately or is there some other reason?
I guess I’ll be doing something other than loafing around in my favorite chair…I’ll be writing.
Categories: Mastering the Craft