I love encouragement. I also love the truth. Which makes it hard for me to trust a lot of the encouragement I receive because when people are supportive they tend to do little white lies or omissions. As in, “It’s okay you didn’t get to your writing, it’s hard to write with kids around.” When actually they’re thinking, weren’t you just sitting on the bleachers chatting up Queen Gossip? You could have used that twenty minutes better. The omissions sound like, “I love the characters.” When they’re thinking, Wow! This scene sucks.
Every once in a while I wish I had a leather jacket, black jeans, and kick-ass boot wearing cheerleader. Someone who will be supportive, but call out the rough stuff solely because she has faith I can fix the problem.
Today, I’ll share my internal kick-ass cheerleader with you. She doesn’t come out often. She lets me fall flat on my face and then waits for me to stand up and slap on a few Band-Aids before setting me straight, but her honesty has driven me more than any nicely worded encouragement I’ve ever received. I admit, she’s harsh, but once I stop stomping my feet, I realize she makes me work harder and do better.
One of her first appearances came years after I began writing. I had an excuse for everything. I can’t write because my house is noisy. I can’t write because my house it too quiet. I can’t write because I only have five minutes. I can’t write because kamikaze paper airplanes keep hitting me in the head. And on and on ad nauseam.
As I sat in front of the television my cheerleader spoke: “Hey, great TV show.” It was so great I can’t even remember what it was. I nodded. “You know, you say you want to write, but you’re not writing.” I nodded, what the heck was going on inside my head? Then I answered her, “Duh, I’m stuck. I have to edit. That’s hard. The kids are home, it’s not possible.”
“But you have time to watch TV.”
“Yeah, gotta chill out once in a while.”
“But you like writing.”
Her point was, if I have time to watch television, I have time to write.
There will never be a perfect time. I have kids. I have a husband. When they’re all out of the house for school or work, I have demanding cats, Facebook tags, mindless internet pop-ups telling me about the greatest new trends in cooking. There is always going to be something. Always.
If you want something bad enough, you will find the time to make it happen.
Once I realized that, writing slipped into place. I can write while my husband practices his music in the garage, while my oldest records his music and while my twins practice their trumpets. I can write and dodge wayward paper airplanes. I can write for ten minutes before dashing out the door. I can write reminders of scenes while sitting at a stop light. I can do it, because I want it.
K.A. Cheerleader says: If it’s a passion, you have to choose to step away from the TV. You have to make the choice to feed that hunger. Use your time on public transportation. Use the time while driving to hum that music into your recorder. Use the time before the PTA meeting to write instead of gossip. You have time. You just need to use it.
Now, go do whatever it is you desire.