We often cite time constraints as a reason for avoiding a particular activity. It's so much easier to say, "I don't have time" than to admit to someone else that they simply aren't a priority. We even make excuses to ourselves, putting off things we say are important to us because there just isn't time for them.
The truth for most of us, however, is that time is 100% in our control. We may have commitments to keep, such as to a spouse or child or job, but those commitments were our choices to make. We ultimately choose how to spend our time, and when we say "I don't have time," what we are actually saying is, "I'm choosing not to make time."
Do you write regularly? Is this something that's important to you? If you aren't doing it, I'd argue that it isn't actually important to you -- even if you say it is. Our true values are determined by our actions, not our words or beliefs.
If you've been telling yourself you simply don't have time to write, I'd like to extend a challenge to look a little more deeply into the reasons you aren't making writing a priority. It's okay if there are so many more important concerns that writing doesn't make the cut. Just be honest about why you are making that choice.
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you find yourself in a public place without pants? The human reaction to embarrassment can be quite strong, and dreams like this are often simply the subconscious mind's way of working through those fears.
Sometimes sharing our creative work can make us feel similarly vulnerable and afraid. What if no one likes it? What if it's completely ignored?
As a writer, it's critical to know when to share your creative work. In the early stages before the polish has been applied, very few people will be able to see the potential of your story. But feedback prior to final publication can be extremely valuable.
I generally share my work with supportive friends and family once the manuscript text has been drafted, rewritten and edited. That way they can read it while I finalize the formatting and cover art. If they notice any errors, I can correct them in the final version.
Some people keep their work hidden from everyone. They bury their talent, fearing what others might think.
Don't be one of those people. Don't wait for perfection before sharing something you've made. Focus on "good enough" and put yourself out there.
To free or not to free, that is the question every author must ask when releasing a new book. There are some very good things about setting your price to $0. For example:
I currently have three short books available for free download:
Everyone has a different idea about what it means to be a writer. For those with high standards, you can only start calling yourself a writer after your first best-selling book is made into a movie. For others, nothing short of being published through Harper Collins or Simon & Schuster will do.
So when do you get to start calling yourself a writer?
In my opinion, there is only one qualification: you just need to write. You can write poems, diary entries, web site copy, emails, short stories, long stories, marketing blurbs. The specific content matters little. It is the act of writing itself that makes you a writer.
Many amateur writers keep their stories secret, the way they'd hide an affair. It's very scary to share your work, but you ARE still a writer--even if your masterpiece is tucked away in a drawer, unfinished.
Writing is not like psychology, requiring certifications to be able to claim the title. You can practice without a license! It's simply something you proclaim to yourself when your work is in the development stages, and to others when you feel courageous enough to be vulnerable. Not everyone will honor your courage and vulnerability, but no one can take the title of writer from you without your permission.