When I was laid off at my previous job a few months back I was suddenly confronted with a problem I hadn’t experienced since my college years: I had all the time in the world.
And yes! I chose the words “confronted” and “problem” intentionally! I had no idea it was going to be as much of a challenge to write when I had more time than less time.
When I was laid off I had YUGE plans for what I was going to do with my free time. I was going to write! I was going to travel! I was going to go to museums! I was going to blog! I was going to edit people’s novels! I was going to job hunt! I was going to be one of those people sitting in a cafe at 2pm on a Tuesday making everyone with a day job wonder “Who has time to sit in a cafe at 2pm on a Tuesday?” I WAS GOING TO BE THAT GUY.
And I did do all of those things! Well. Except the writing part…
Here’s the thing I didn’t appreciate about being really busy with a day job: you have structure. You have things you must do because of such practical realities like “paying your rent” and “paying adequate attention to people who love you.”
Want to write while you have a full time job? Chances are you have two or three choices when you can possibly write. So you better do it then. And when you have time? Better get crackin’.
There’s something about being busy that made me commit to writing in the few openings in my schedule whether I wanted to or not. For me, it was the weekends or bust.
When you have all the time in the world? You have endless choice, it’s easy to put off writing (“I have time! I can do it later!”), and you have to go out of your way to create structure.
The good news is that I have begun to turn the corner, and have started organizing my day around job hunting, then writing, then leaving some time for other pursuits. I forced myself to create some structure so I wouldn’t neglect the writing.
And in the meantime, I’ll be that guy making the tourists wonder, “What New Yorker has time to sit in the Rose Room at 2pm on a Tuesday?”
Have you struggled to create structure when you suddenly have time? How did you do it?
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