Why I guard my writing time jealously

If you are the sort of person who enjoys writing—you just enjoy writing. It’s a form of therapy that isn’t optional. You need writing to feel well, both mentally and physically.

Finding the time to write is not always easy when our lives are busy. It doesn’t matter how much or how little time you manage to dedicate to writing, the important thing is that you have time, and regular time, at that. There are stages in our life where we have more or less time for creative pursuits, and we have to accept this.

We have to receive every moment spent writing with gratitude.

I have been a long-term sufferer of fibromyalgia, which is a debilitating, and often misunderstood, chronic disease. I am glad to say that I mostly manage the symptoms using both diet and exercise now, a hard won balance that took me many painful years to master. There were many days when I was in too much pain to think properly, let alone be capable of writing. When I could not write, I fell back onto greater reading—not such a bad compromise, perhaps.

I lost many things during the worst years of my illness, and made many compromises on the life I wanted to live.

I can look back now and see clearly that it changed me in a profound way. I spent a lot of time grieving for what I couldn’t have, couldn’t be, and couldn’t do.

If it taught me anything, it would be a sense of perspective, and of perseverance. It taught me too, that while in many ways I had changed, the part of me that loved the rich, inner, imaginative world of books, remained exactly the same. And this was very comforting.

I never stopped reading.

And I never completely stopped writing.

We all have things that take us away from our writing, some wonderful and some sad.

The important thing is to keep a little of your writing love going, even if you only have a tiny slot, even if you have to stop up until the rest of the house has gone to bed, or rise early, to get your writing fix. Guard your writing time jealously, because if you are a writer, then a writer is who you are, and when life get tough, it may just be the thing that keeps you going. A love of writing is not altered by our age or our situation, or even by the obstacles life throws our way. It is fundamental, and enduring, and it is pervasive to our very core.