How do I find time to write?

A Note from Nava: I'm reprising my very first entry for this blog, as not too many people got to see it, and because I myself need to follow Edna Ferber's advice after all the entertainments and activities of summer. I've started to say, sorry— I really need to stick to a 9 to 5 schedule. Thanks, Edna!

Dear Literary Ladies,
I would dearly love to call myself a professional writer, but I’m so easily distracted. After the kids go to school, it’s off to work, the gym, and endless errands. On weekends, I entertain family or visit with friends. In the midst of all this, I can’t seem to find time to write. How can I fit everything in?

To be a professional writer one must be prepared to give up almost everything except living. Amateur writers are not included in this rule (I loathe loud-talking amateurs of any walk of life. An amateur is an apprentice and should conduct himself as such, keeping his mouth shut and learning his craft). The first lesson to be learned by a writer is to be able to say, “Thanks so much. I’d love to, but I can’t. I’m working.”

—Edna Ferber, A Kind of Magic, 1963


Ricki August 19, 2009 at 6:16 PM  

Ah, if only we all had the self-discipline to say that at least 50% of the time!

Tai August 26, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

Edna Ferber frequently appears as a clue in the NYT crossword. But I confess, this is the first thing by her I have ever read, and I love it. Thank you.

Nava Atlas August 26, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

Edna Ferber is a name less known today than many of the other classic authors who have appeared in this blog. In her time, she was very successful. She won the Pulitzer Prize for one of her first novels, So Big, and many of her works were made into major movies or plays, including Giant (with James Dean), Showboat, and the western, Cimarron. She made tons of money, was very independent and devoted to writing. Perhaps her works were of their time and place, but she is still a good role model.

Pen and Ink September 2, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

This is delightful. You have given me ideas, inspired me and made me smile. I would love to say more but I must get back to work. THANK YOU!


dirtywhitecandy September 7, 2009 at 3:37 PM  

How do you fit writing in? You make it one of the things you do, set aside a regular appointment for it that you always keep. This can be hard if there are other competitors for your time and attention, but if you took up any new hobby you'd go through the same teething troubles. A friend of mine just started creative writing classes, so that she would have dedicated time to do it and could give it her best shot. But if the bug is there, you'll soon find that isn't a chore to sort out the time to do it, but a pleasure.

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Wouldn't you love to get advice from  classic women authors on writing and the writer's life? Here I fancifully pose the questions, and the Literary Ladies answer in their own words.

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