I have a busy life. I'm sure that's true of most of us! There are some weeks when I get very little writing done at all, but other weeks I seem to have more time than I've ever dreamed possible to write. I know I've blogged about taking time out of your busy life to dedicate to your writing before and I've also said it's easier said than done,but it's such an important point that I'm revisiting the issue here.
When I went to an Open University workshop in Birmingham a couple of years back, the tutor listened to all of our writing achievements and aspirations. When we'd been round the room, she made the comment that you needed drive and the ability to be selfish if you wanted to be a successful writer and she said that she wasn't sure that any of us had it! Gasps hissed around the room followed by an awkward silence. At the time I thought the tutor was just very rude and not in the least bit inspiring. Instead of encouraging and nurturing we fledgling writers, she seemed to want to suck the life force out of us. But looking back, I think she was right.
Her words were like a red rag to a bull for me. How dare she say I haven't got drive, that I just haven't got what it takes to succeed as a writer. It just made me me more determined to be published so I could prove her wrong! But it was her comment about being selfish that became my sticking point. I'm one of the most unselfish people I know: I do volunteer work. I put myself out for people. And therein lies the rub. Quite often I'm very aware of the fact that I will put other people and other things in front of my writing. And that's not good for a writer.
I can never see myself becoming totally selfish and putting my writing first. To be selfish is not in my nature. But I am taken advantage of by time thieves quite often. It's my own fault. I need to say no more. There has to be a balance. It's okay to be selfish about your writing sometimes. If you want to be a professional and success writer you have to steal some of your time back and say no to those who try and monopolise your time. Stop feeling guilty and you'll be a happier writer.