Many of my writer friends are younger than I am. That means they juggle a job, home and family obligations before they can sit down and write. Their writing time is precious to them because they have to carve it out of a staggering menu of Things That Must Be Done.
Up until a few months ago, I was still working. Working at home, not in an office, but working nevertheless. If I wasn't at my computer I was attending a meeting or an open house for a new business or taking photos at a festival or parade and then processing them into a slide show. (In case you are wondering, my partner and I created an on-line magazine that largely catered to business news in the comunity, and managed websites for businesses and organizations.)
I thought after I "retired" I would have plenty of time for my writing. It turns out I was prematurely optimistic. I have just as many obligations as before with some added on. Added on by my own willingness to volunteer, I must admit.
My husband suggested that I cut down on my activities. I won't, and here's why:
They keep me connected to the community and my church. I love being around people and feeling like I am part of something bigger than myself.
They keep me connected to friends and family. E-mail, snail-mail, Facebook: a little time each day checking in on the folks I love.
They give me a chance to "pay back" for the many advantages I have been given. This is important. If I don't help those looking for a better life, it's like ignoring all the people who helped me along the way. And smacks of arrogant ingratitude.
They keep me grounded. Most people don't care that I wrote a book or two. They just want me to help in the ktichen at a hot dog fundraiser or take minutes at a meeting.
I like being busy and involved. And yes, I can still carve out time to write. So my advice to these young writers is not to complain about having to schedule because it's a skill you will find helpful, if not necessary, when the babies are grown and the day job is a memory. Books aren't written in ivory towers. They are written from and in spite of a full involvement in life.