Tuesday, August 21, 2007


People are always saying to me, "Oh, I could write a book if I had time." The assumption, I guess, is that I have no life and so it's easy for me.

When I started writing, it seemed like I had no time. My husband traveled for business three out of every four weeks. I had three young children. My day was packed, but I wanted to start writing seriously. I finally realized you can't put something into a day until you take something out, so I decided to start getting up at 4 AM, the time my husband got up to commute to LA when he was home, and two hours before children started rising. I was a night owl in those days, so this was a real sacrifice. I also stopped watching television, although that didn't add too much time. The hours from 4-6 AM were my time and no one was allowed to bother me. If my children woke up early, they knew they had to (gasp) watch television or something else that wouldn't require my help.

Now I have about 7 hours alone, and I'm still working to find time with all my responsibilities, including three callings. But the rules haven't changed--to put something into my day, something else has to come out. I find the only way to write a book or anything else is just to write. Choose a time, even if it's only fifteen minutes a day. I do a lot of pre-writing while I'm alone in the car. I drive my son to and from work, and I have a half hour each way to plan. I also have time to pre-write while I clean house. If I were a better housekeeper, this would give me more time.

When I sit down to write, I have to work fast, so I need the basics in my head. I've learned the more I write, the faster I get, so practice really does make perfect, or at least speed.

"If I had time" isn't usually a good excuse. You have time...but is writing more important to you than something else on your schedule?


Janet Jensen said...

Great discipline, Terrie! And when I start a project, it's always on my mind. So it simmers while I'm doing other things, and mellows a bit. And because it's there, I'm more receptive to ideas that come "out of the blue." Living with it 24/7 really helps. I agree that "time" is what you make of it.

Rebecca Talley said...

Great post, Terrie. You're exactly right. We all make time for the things that are important to us.

latterdayauthors said...
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patricia said...

I want to be Terrie when I grow up.