Tips: I’ve Always Wanted To Write A Book, But I Just Don’t (Fill In The Blank)

People often ask me how I write. At first, I thought they were inquiring if I was using a pen or pencil or if I typed on a computer. I realized that they were really wondering how I disciplined myself to put my thoughts on paper or on a computer screen.

“I keep telling myself that once I retire/win the lottery/change jobs/move/find the time, I will write about ______________.”

Oh, I’ve heard this many times and I know that most of the people will never live out their passions because they will always find an excuse not to write. I know this because I was one of them.

For years, friends would implore me to put my email missives and travelogues into a book. I wrote poetry for party invitations and prose while bored at work, but I never thought I could make a living from writing, so I didn’t taken it seriously until…

My body revolted. I became so lethargic that I didn’t feel like I was awake until the afternoon. I had bad migraine headaches. The neurologist was baffled. He thought I had multiple sclerosis, but the brain MRI showed that I was in good shape.

It turns out I was allergic to my job and I wasn’t listening to my long held desire to write. I am serious. I used to work in the Italian wine business in San Francisco and got to eat gourmet Italian food all the time. But I didn’t like my job. Yes, it’s possible not to like being surrounded by wine and food all day. My body developed allergies to wheat (no pasta and bread), dairy (no cheese), citric acid (no tomatoes), chocolate (oh my!), corn and grapes (no vino!). I couldn’t do my job anymore. As soon as I decided to quit, the allergies went away.

I am not suggesting you quit your job. I did get other jobs to finance my writing life once I quit the wine world. What I am saying is that don’t postpone your passions or else your body may postpone your health.

Stay true to your wordsmith calling.

If you have a short story in you that you keep writing in your head while riding the train or bus every morning, then find the time to write it down.

Is your excuse, “I just don’t have the time”? If yes, follow these guidelines to make time to write:

During your lunch break, find a quiet space, away from your colleagues, and write or type away. I don’t care if you have to write under the staircase or in the closet. It doesn’t matter. You need to train yourself to do it regularly. Think about all the empty conversations you have during lunch. Once you dedicate yourself to writing during lunch, you can finally have an excuse tell your colleagues that you need your time alone. They will be proud of your dedication and you will be happy as well.

Just like you may have your soccer or poker night, yoga class or salsa dance class, reserve a writing night to work on your book/novella or other writing project.

Join a writing group. Maybe group work will make you more motivated to write. Look on www.meetup.com or www.craigslist.org to find a writing group in your area.

Find a writing buddy. Pair up with a friend who also wants to write. You can meet at a specified time each week to write together or to share each other’s work.

Is your excuse, “I don’t have a quiet place to write”?

Most libraries have a quiet study room where mobile phones are not allowed. The lightning is good. There is air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. Don’t bring your ergonomic keyboard to attach to your laptop because the loud typing may make someone give you the evil eye and crash your computer. (This happened to me.)

* However, for those people residing in New York City, I have to admit the well lit libraries with plentiful electric outlets are not easy to find. Get to the library early or go during unpopular times.

Find a friend who goes to work when you are free and use their home to write. Sometimes a change of scenery helps.

If you find yourself coming up with more excuses NOT to write, tell them to a trusted friend who will tell you the truth and cut through your argument and give you a solution. Sometimes it takes someone to kick your behind for you to realize that you can follow your dreams!

Above all, write.

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