If You Give IT Your Time, IT Will Come

As you all know, I aspire to be a writer. My reasons for this are multiple.

So, my reasons are really good. I have every motivation in the world to take my writing seriously.

Except that I don't really have the time to do it, and until I have more assignments, I can't really justify allotting more time to my writing.

But there is the catch, you see. I don't give myself more time, because I don't have assignments or work to fill that time, but I can't get the work unless I set aside time to find work and develop assignments. So should I force myself to 'write' when I have nothing to do, basically wasting time, or should I wisely apportion my valuable time, spending only as much as I need on my various projects?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to this sort of thing.

Start Small, Grow Slowly

The first advocates starting small and building up slowly. Followers of this mentality have made the mistake of getting really excited about something, going out to buy all the latest and best gear, and then finding themselves overwhelmed and overextended. They now own a ton of useless stuff and owe a lot of money. Learning from this experience, they have decided it is best to only get what you need to start, only allocate the minimal amount of time to get things off the ground. Once things start rolling, you can pick up more responsibility.

Campers do this all the time. For their first camping trip, they go out and buy the best sleeping bag, a really nice internal frame pack, and weeks worth of camping food. Assuming the hobby catches, it would still take a long time before the individual gained the skills and motivation necessary to head out on the kinds of expeditions that would justify that kind of gear.

When it comes to a lifestyle project, I don't think this approach works very well. When you're starting a business, for example, it is unwise to just put in the minimal amount of effort, capital, and time, because somebody out there is putting in as much as they can. When we started CrossFit Norwalk, the trainers showed up to every class, even if nobody was there. We could have simply said that there wouldn't be any classes until there were people to fill them, but then nobody would have shown up. By making ourselves available, people saw that we were ready for them and took advantage of our services.

All Or Nothing

That is the second mentality that people adopt. Instead of trying to grow slowly as opportunities require, they start off big and provide plenty of space for opportunity to fill when it inevitably comes along. They clear their schedule, invest lots of time and money, and dig out a big open area so that when they see an opportunity, they have the ability and freedom to go after it right away.

I think, now that I've had the time to ponder and experiment, that this approach is the best way to go after a career in writing.  There are always writing opportunities, but I usually am too busy to take them up. Since I won't give myself time until I have work, I never get the work in the first place.

Of course, there now arises the problem of where to find additional time to write. I will have to look back to this article I wrote on the subject and see if I can implement some of my old strategies.

- (**