The most frustrating thing* about being a writer (or a musician, graffiti artist, cake decorator, tennis player, etc.) is that you can’t write whenever and for however long you wish. Let’s call this our inability to write unhindered. Life demands more of us than to be writers. The expectations are greater than to simply practice our creative passion and eat.
What makes this frustrating is that I can often see, as I’m working on a piece, a vision for it. I can see what it will become, and I recognize that the only thing standing between me and that vision is more work. Yet, I must stop working at the end of my allotted time and pay bills, go to the office, rake the leaves, scoop the catbox. Sure, I could skip these things and keep writing, but I also value providing for my family and being a decent citizen. (Don’t let me confuse you. My concern here is not about time to write. That is a different discussion and is about knowing our priorities and clarifying them for ourselves (see Time to Write, January 2014).)
There is no such thing as eliminating the hindrances so you can write. In fact, the best writers have found a way to incorporate them into their writing lives. So, what to do? Keep going. Don’t define yourself – your self-worth that is – by how much writing you can get done. You are more than the sum of your manuscripts. Recognize that writing enriches your life and write as much as you can.
*When I say this is the most frustrating thing what I mean is that the other frustrating things (getting voice right, struggling with subject matter, getting your work the attention it deserves) would be greatly mitigated if you could write unhindered.