Fury has had me in a few dozen countries these last months. It’s safe to say that I’ve been busy. The trouble with Americans is that we subscribe to an idolization of business. We are all busy, to varying degrees. We like it that way. We keep it that way. Busyness goes far beyond what you’re physically doing. We keep our minds busy with podcasts and music and Netlfix binges. The trouble is: how does one stay busy and write a novel?
The short answer? You can’t. We have time for what we make time for. Writing takes a lot of time. If it isn’t at least near the top of your priority list, you’ll never finish that story or novel or poem or whatever else you’re working on. And really, there’s no shame in that. There are plenty of writers who are hobbyists, who write for fun and that’s all they need.
I am not one of those people. Part of what makes me a good agent and a difficult person to date (sorry Bruce) is that there is no half way with me. I’ll succeed or fail, but there is no in between. When it comes to writing, I’m the same. I will finish and sell this novel. It’s another world saving mission.
So then, how do I write while actually saving the world?
My rule: write every day. That's all I require of myself, especially on days I don't feel like writing. Especially on days when toppling regimes or interrogating dictators takes priority. Most of the time, I end up with a lot more than . That’s it. That’s all I require of myself each day. Usually those three sentences turn into five or ten or forty. Sometimes it’s only three.
I used to subscribe to the Hemingway 500 words a day thing. But 500 words can be a daunting number, on bad days, it sounds impossible. Three sentences, on the other hand? No problem. I can do that while scaling the side of a building. I can do that during a hostile takeover. I can build a story one paragraph at a time without guilt or worry. It might not seem like a lot, but it’s a hell of a lot more than writing nothing.
How do you break through the busy?