I love Portland in the summer. It’s true we live with rain most of the year, but this is when we get to enjoy all the green the rain brings. It’s been awesome to head outside on adventures, and for a writer, that always seem to make the creative juices flow better. In fact, this is a great article by Colleen M. Story about how the greats used walking in their creative process. Below is a photo from an urban adventure with my friend Sarah. My favorite Portland bridge is in the background.
So lately, I’ve been thinking about the word no quite a bit. This is a word I wrestle with constantly in my life. Like many, I struggle with saying no to people, saying no to commitments and saying no to good things in order to have time for great things. Michael Hyatt has some great resources on his website about having good life margin, but I wanted to talk a bit about no specifically in relationship to pursuing the writing life. What will you say no to in order to make your writing dreams a reality? Here are some things I have (and am continuing) to say no to in order to make writing happen every day.
1) Movies. Yep, I still watch them, but not nearly as many as I used to. This not only gives me time for writing, but for reading in the evenings, as well. At any rate, I love movies, so this has been a gradual transition, and not without pain!
2) Television. I don’t have one. Kind of like chocolate in the house. If it’s there, I will eat it (possibly in one ungodly sitting). If the TV is there, I will turn it on, so it’s just easier if I don’t have one around.
3) Sleeping In. Now I will admit; I am a morning person, so this is not as much of a challenge for me, but it’s one that I try to enforce, even on the weekends. There is less distraction, more quiet, which for me, inevitably leads to more productivity. This is the single biggest factor that has changed my writing life. I simply get up early and write immediately, every day.
These are simple things. Pursuing the writing life does not involve turning your life upside down and abolishing every single bad habit you have or erasing every commitment on your calendar. It simply involves saying no to a few strategic things, and saying yes to the one thing you are passionate to pursue.
What things have you given up in order to make space for writing? How has it been difficult? What benefits have you seen? Feel free to leave a comment!