Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Finding Time to Live the Dream

One of the first hints I get that someone knows his or her purpose in life is when they are simultaneously pretty sure they can’t have the dream and security too. Most dreams don’t seem to have anything to do with paying the mortgage, feeding the kids, setting aside a nest egg for retirement. They almost seem mutually exclusive. My greatest fear about living the writer’s life was living it under a leaky roof and eating peanut butter three times a day. I wasn’t about to jump willingly into that world. I wanted a compromise, a way to test the water before it started pouring down on my head.

I found my compromise in a question: What would you do if you had an extra hour a day? (And you can’t say sleep.) That came out of a Stephen Covey time management course I took. My answer was always the same. (I took the course twice, but asked myself that question many times.)

The answer: Write novels.

The fear: Starving while shivering alone in a hovel.

The solution: Devote one hour a day to writing novels.

Right away I realized that I might not have an hour every day, but I also knew that I could probably find extra time some evenings and weekends. If I set a goal of seven hours a week and only achieved half of that, I was still ahead of wishing but not writing. Before the year was out, I had the first draft of a novel completed. On top of that, I met people who wanted to help and support me. The road was wider than I could see from behind that first little crack that I opened in the door. That’s what happens when you give your dream even half a chance. It picks you up and carries you away, without demanding you give up on the mortgage, the grocery bill, the nest egg. It’s a safer journey that it seems, and then again, it’s not. It wouldn’t be any fun if there weren’t a few surprises.

1 comment:

  1. This was exactly my compromise when I started writing my novel some time ago. It's difficult to find the time with kids and a job, but 1-2 hours in the morning before work seems to make everything else easier to take. Security and the dream at the same time!