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On a Schedule

When I was younger, I held the philosophy that I would write when the passion struck me. I remember talking to a college English teacher about writing on a schedule. I feared writing would turn into a chore if I tried. Plus, why bother to try? I was in high school and had all the time in the world to write. Even in college, I held this luxury. In fact, one Friday night, my brother and I went to watch “The Recruit” with Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. I was so inspired to write, don’t ask me why because I was writing The Lord of Nightmares at the time, that I stayed up until one o’clock in the morning writing. It was awesome. My dog didn’t agree. That was also the night we received our first snow dusting. My brother woke him up early to go on a walk in the snow for the first time. This resulted in a hysterical picture of a tired, cold dachshund in the sweater he hated huddling by our front door.

But this is not the point of the post. 🙂 The point is, no matter how hard I worked, life was easy when I was young. I had minimal responsibility. Now, I find myself running to stay ahead of the bills. I am out and about more, trying not to be a complete hermit. I found myself never writing. I think I went over a year. Now, before judging me and saying this is proof I really shouldn’t be a writer, that I don’t have the desire, I must say during this time I felt like a part of me had died. I was grumpy and depressed. I had shut down the most important part of my identity. It didn’t feel right. Yet, no matter how much I tried, I could not find time to write. And, worse, the longer I went without writing the less the ideas came. When I did find time to write, the ideas came stilted.

At the beginning of this year, I told myself I was going to write on a schedule. In fact, the deciding factor to “sell out” came when I heard about my idol Mary Higgins Clark. She was widowed at an early age. With kids to raise, she would wake up early every day, write, and then wake her children. She wrote on a schedule and I loved her writing. So, I finally decided to write. Ten minutes every morning. It seems like such a small amount of time, but was more than nothing. I was writing…and the ideas started flowing again. I still struggle to make writing a priority in my life. Not just marketing, but actually sitting at the computer and writing. I think back to the girl I was and shake my head at the naiveness. That’s the fun part of growing up. Now, I whole heartedly believe in writing on a schedule. We have to make time for the things we love. Otherwise, nothing will ever move forward.