To be a writer, you need to be many things; an editor, a dreamer, a finder of typos, a character creator, a world builder, a hunter of plot bunnies, a channeler of the muse, a reader, a critic, a slayer of fears, and a devourer of chocolate. The most important thing that you need to be, however, is selfish.
While it’s easy to say that you’re going to write and it’s fun to make the plans to do so, especially if it involves buying stationary, it is even easier to not write—to give into sleep-ins and socializing instead. But if you want anything written, you must be selfish by…
- Forgoing sleep
- Breaking plans
- Choosing to write over family time
- Neglecting To Be Read piles
- Leaving TV series un-binged
- Posting less frequently to your Facebook author page
- Posting only once a day to Instagram (and only checking it once a day)
- Leaving blog posts unwritten until the last possible minute
If you can do those things then you’ll be reaching your writing goals in no time. If you can’t be a selfish writer then you need to be a smarter writer.
- Watch only 1 episode of your favorite TV show instead of binge-watching the series (although you have special permission to watch Stranger Things 2 because it’s awesome).
- Read for half an hour a day instead of the entire day. If the book is great and you can’t put it down, think of how much longer you’ll be able to live in that book world if you restrict yourself to small, time-limited visits.
- Set a time limit on social media-yes it’s important to keep up-to-date and to maintain your writer platforms. It’s also inspiring and encouraging to see what everyone else is doing in the writing community, but it’s a time suck. If social media is stopping you from writing your own stuff, then something has to give.
- Create a to-do list of simple, writing-related tasks and do them before doing anything else. If that means waking up before the sun or going to bed well after the rest of your household, then so be it.
You have to become selfish or smarter in the other areas of your life because spending too much of your day on everything but your book, will not get it written. Obviously, there are exceptions, such as looking after fur-kids or tiny humans, but anything that is non-essential needs to be prioritized to create a balance that works for you—not against you.
This will most likely mean that you’ll spend bright sunny days in a darkened room, sitting at a desk instead of enjoying the world outside, but at the end of the day you’ll have a chapter, or at the very least one sentence that has been re-written a million times. If that’s selfish, then that is exactly the kind of writer that I want to be.
— K.M. Allan