Worst. Excuse. Ever.

And it’s probably one of the most common excuses. What am I talking about?

“I want to do xyz but don’t have time.”

Replace xyz with just about anything. I’ll concentrate on writing and fitness as examples as they should accommodate for most visitors to this blog.

Granted, every writer and her cat blogs about making time for writing but I think I take more of a direct approach than most on this issue. Anyone in my kung fu classes will attest that I have little patience for empty excuses (which tend to earn you press ups), and a lack of time is just that. It isn’t limited to writing time; this applies to anything you might want to achieve: fitness, retraining for a new career, whatever.

“Making time” is a fallacy.

We all have the same twenty four hours in a day and we choose how to use them. If you’re sat watching celebrities eat creepy-crawlies in a jungle and use the time excuse, you should think hard about how much you want to write that novel or sculpt those abs. I’m talking about sacrifice. Before you change into your cultist robes and grab your dagger with a hilt fashioned from a yew branch hewn on the winter solstice, this is about prioritising the activities in your life.

I have a lot of plates spinning at any one time: writing, two writers’ groups, gym, martial arts, skiing, assorted outdoors activities, something resembling a social life and (apparently) a blog. Oh, and a full time job. They’re all things I want to do so the key is finding a balance between them. I’ve already trimmed the fat from my schedule so when one pursuit needs to take precedence, the others have to give. For example, if I have a martial arts demonstration to train for, it moves up the list and other activities take a hit. The same applies if you have a deadline on your writing, self-imposed or otherwise.

There’s plenty to achieve through simple efficiencies. I usually hammer out a few words over breakfast which puts a story in my head first thing in the morning. Driving to and from work is ideal plotting time. I’ll even perform ankle exercises (for skiing and martial arts) while brushing my teeth—it’s all stuff that underpins the things I want to do.

Grabbing snatches of time to write is good, common advice. Twenty minutes here and there adds up but the simple fact is that success takes time, dedication and focus. Sporting heroes live and breathe their event, training longer and harder than us mere mortals. Great writers spend untold hours chained to their keyboards. In one of my earlier posts I talked about Will Smith and his views on success. Watch his motivational videos on YouTube and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s not all doom and gloom, blood, sweat and tears. You’ll soon burn out if you take things to the extreme. I mentioned balance. That’s the operative word. Fortunately, most of my interests feed into writing, usually by way of inspiration, be it through some tabletop war game, an RPG or spending time in the mountains. So don’t go neglecting your wife/husband/children/friends and blaming it on me because “the man from The Internet told you to chase your dreams.” That’s a terrible excuse and earns you fifty press ups.

Next time you say you don’t have time for something, think it through. You do have time. You’re just prioritising something else. Sorry, but you’ll never be bored again. You don’t have time for that!

I realise that upon posting this, I can never use the time excuse again. Oh well, I have some novels to write anyway.

 

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