What Do You Give Up For Your Writing?

 

by Morgan S. Hazelwood

 

Giving Up

I was raised Southern Baptist and we don’t do Lent. I might have seen ashes on people’s forehead’s once or twice before I headed off to college, but just accepted that as “a Catholic Thing.” I was barely aware of Mardi Gras outside of The Count of Monte Cristo.

In college, though, I learned about Lent. That’s when I discovered it was a time for sacrifice and cleansing. It started to fascinate me. What was I willing to give up?

As writers, we give up a lot for our writing.

 

Time

First and foremost, we give up our time.

During NaNoWriMo? I’d say I spent 60 hours writing in one month, that’s 15 hours a week. And that’s not counting the time I was distracted by the internet and trying to write.

In an average month? I’d say I spend 3-10 hours a week on my writing. And that’s before you go into beta-reading other people’s work, reading about writing (mostly blogs), and helping run a writer support group (well, 2 right now, because I was backup for a 2nd group). That’s probably another 8-10 hours a week. [Note to self: change up that ratio! More time writing, less time talking about writing.]

 

Hobbies

That time has to come from somewhere.

For many of us, writing is technically a hobby. But it’s also a dream, with further potential.

When you make your writing a priority, something’s got to give, and for most of us, our hobbies are the first to give. Those are things we do just for us, so, they’re the most easily sacrificed. The time most easily carved out.

Be it team sports, reading, or video games: we’ve got to make a choice and these tend to be first on the butcher block.

 

Social

I’m not saying we lose friends over our writing, but when it comes to finding time for writing, spending time with friends can suffer. “Want to go dancing/to the bar/meetup?” turns into, “I can’t. I’m trying to finish this revision by the end of the month.”

Don’t ask me how excited I am about Friday nights at home, with no distractions, no bedtime, and a chunk of editing to do.

 

Downtime

You know that time you spend sitting in front of the tv (or computer) just vegging out, mindlessly being entertained? Hanging out with friends with no scheduled activity or set end time? You might still try to do this, but in the back of your head is a clock saying “you could have finished that chapter tonight.”

 

Fitness

You want to hit the gym, but you got out of work late again and if you’re going to get this book out there, being queried sooner, rather than later, you need to get home. You’ll just skip snacks tonight, it’ll be fine.

4 hours later, 1 microwaved dinner and 2 snacks, with 1 chapter edited: it’s past time for bed.

 

Family

A lot of family time IS downtime and social time. So, by giving up those, you give up time with family. I try to set aside time for family where I’m not writing, but they usually end up being events, where there’s an event and a scheduled activities. Making family time double as social. Sometimes, I schedule family time for writing events- this year, I’m going to Balticon with my mom.

 

Looking for Balance

Giving up all that stuff to carve out time for writing takes away your balance.

When you’re over-scheduled and every free moment is chores or writing, it’s time to step back and see where you’re losing time and where you can find time for those other things.

My goal for lent is to stop wasting time on click-bait. Those “12 reasons X” and “30 stories of Y” and find more actual downtime AWAY from a computer.

What do you find yourself giving up?

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Morgan Hazelwood. Morgan is currently working on the fantasy coming-of-age adventure Flesh and Ink. These days, when not writing, you can find her devouring book series on her kindle, hitting the gym, dressing up at local conventions, or feeding her web comic addiction. She also lends her voice to Anansi Storytelling – a radio-style podcast of folk tales from around the world.

 

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15 thoughts on “What Do You Give Up For Your Writing?”

  1. It’s a challenge to make living people the priority over the written word because the written for is FOR the living people. The catch-22 is, without empathy and knowing real people, characters seem far-fetched or unrealistic. Without real relationships, blogs are kind of… well impotent. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I mainly give up sleep.

    I have 2 young boys and I refuse to sacrifice time with them. Even if I wanted to, I doubt they’d let me! Once the boys are in bed, I usually spend a little time with my wife. I can’t leave her out. With all that done, and all evening chores taken care of, it’s usually what most would consider to be good bedtime. So I “invent” time by going to bed late.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I hate to say this – but it seems I’ve given up reading!!! I used to read about a book a week, on average. I’d scour garage sales, bazaars etc. for books, then later got freebies for my Kindle… but now – blog posts beg to be written – and stories and memoirs and and and… Now if I ever try to read, I feel like I *should* be doing some writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I don’t give up anything. I have paper and a pen or pencil with me at all times. I feel naked without something to write on or input something. I don’t think I’ve ever had a job where I wrote during down times or on lunch breaks. I wrote in church, at Sco, during study hall. I write during the holidays, on vacation…I’m a writing machine all day, every day.10-12 hours a day. I don’t like being interrupted with chores, but will make time for that. I will schedule life around writing because writing is my life. I was stressed out on a cruise not having access to paper and a pen so I splurged on a notebook and several pens just to write something. I’m calmer writing anything. Even making lists is a form of writing. I don’t think I’m human. I will say, recently, I finally got myself down to writing three to six pages rather than ten a day, though those days will come again. I write so much, my doctor wants me to keep a schedule for wasting time and sleep. I don’t think I’m human, but I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was two. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unfortunately it is the writing that suffers for me. My family, and their needs come first followed by my day job. I try squeezing in some writing time early in the morning which still amounts to around 30-45 min before I’m forced to stop. Come to think of it I have given up my fitness schedule this past year to work on writing, but I can feel the difference there and may need to compromise soon.

    Liked by 3 people

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