This week is going to be hell. Next week won't be much better. Week three is going to be worse, and the last seven days will probably kill me.
I'm writing two pilots, one spec and one original. I have to finish the outline for book three and the basic structure for book four. I have military obligations, work obligations, and a wife who likes to see me on occasion.
So what does a writer do when faced with an overwhelming workload? Procrastinate? Call in sick? Binge watch Parks & Rec?
No. A writer writes.
And then, maybe after, does all those things.
This is going to be a hellish set of weeks, beginning now. I have a solid outline for my spec pilot, a decent idea for my original, and scraps of paper for everything else. I also have a full time, 55+ hour a week job, and other obligations I need to meet. The point is, I have a life.
You know what, though? So does everyone. There are relatively few people on the planet who can devote all of their time to writing without every worrying about money. Even professional writers, with buckets of money, worry about getting that next piece written. Granted, they do their worrying on two-hundred-foot yachts, but they still worry.
You will always have an excuse not to write. You will have other items on your "to-do" list. There will be birthdays, projects, and deadlines that rush at you from all sides. You will have friends calling, asking to hang out. You will have that bottle of Laphroaig that's been tempting you for weeks. There will be distractions.
But being a writer is about writing. It's about sitting down every single day, hammering out words, and being happy for the opportunity.
Now, I am not saying to ignore any of your responsibilities. Until you are fortunate enough to pay your bills with your written lies, you need to keep money flowing in. You have to keep your house and home in order, and you can't ignore your social life forever.
But being a writer, as mentioned just a few sentences ago, IS ABOUT WRITING.
Now, I've challenged myself this month. I have deadlines that, when I achieve them (NOT IF, WHEN), will provide me fodder to send into competitions and scholarships. If I win those, I will have more money to stave off the bill collectors, which in turn provides me more time to write.
It is important to decide what kind of writing career you want. Is this a hobby? Is this something you do on the weekend to avoid talking to your spouse? Is it something to whip out at parties to show your friends that "you can be creative too?"
Or are you serious? Is this the last career you ever want to have? Are you willing to risk years of relative discomfort in exchange for something amazing?
I am not planning on having an average career. I am not planning on having a pretty good career. I aim to be a stellar writer, with a "hall of fame" career. That means making sacrifices, getting uncomfortable, and boiling an extra pot of coffee.
So, this week, I'm asking for your support. Every day (EVERY SINGLE DAY) I want you to do a writing sprint. 60 minutes of uninterrupted writing. Shut off your phone, turn off your wifi, and close everything that is not a writing application.
Don't worry if you don't have an idea. Don't worry if you only type a few words. Just write. Solid. One hour. And I'll be there with you the whole time.
I have to. Because I've got a hell of lot to do this week.
I'm going to check in with you Thursday to see how you've done, and I expect great things.