Step One: Go Away
Close your screen right now and write 500 words. I’ll wait. We will all wait.
Step Two: Steal
Hello again. Stop talking about “carving” out time to write. The reason why you haven’t been successful is because you are mistaken about the nature of time. Time isn’t something to carve. It isn’t butter. It’s a precious biscuit that wants you to steal it. Become a thief of time. Your malnourished writing life needs time more than your never ending list of well-fed busy tasks do. Steal from the rich to give to the poor.
Step Three: Honor Your Day Job
Stop resenting your day job. Your money pays for things. Just do your work, don’t complain about your work. Complaining about your job makes it enormous and if you are a writer, your day job really needs to stay small. My brilliant idea has been to land a job I love that pays enough for me to live while still having long afternoons, weekends, and summers to write. Not everyone has that level of privilege, but if you can find work that doesn’t intrude on your health while contributing to your wealth, that’s the ticket.
Step Four: Invent Reading Monday
Wherever you are on Mondays, make it a rule that the only important task for that whole day is to read. This rule has been my finest invention as a teacher. Nobody can do anything on Monday but read. No talking.
If you fly planes for a living or whatever and can’t read all day without endangering lives, at least set aside Monday’s lunch hour for reading. You have to read, right? If you aren’t reading, you aren’t competing. (I tell my students that because they like it when their teacher talks in rhyme.)
Step Five: Stop Looking At Things On The Internet And Write 500 More Words
Step Six: Doesn’t Matter