To paraphrase Ursula Le Guin:
“When did you know you wanted to be a writer?”
I’d respond, “I’ve always been a writer.”
I wish I had started writing with the intention of publishing earlier in life. In the computer lab in High School (class of 1990) I would write stories of my Dungeons and Dragons characters. My friend gave me my first criticism, she said, “You need more than fight scenes.” She was right.
I always had ideas but rarely got them down on paper. I wrote a poem on my love’s lament that was published in a school journal. I submitted an idea for a role-playing game adventure. But it wasn’t until I was in a near-fatal car crash twenty-four years ago that I decided to quit my job and become a comic-book writer. But I was wrong. I should have been writing while I had that full-time job. It’s all about time management and making choices on what’s important.
Make progress every day. Pick a goal (in this case-writing) and work on it every day. Ten minutes before work. After dinner before putting in a movie, write for half an hour. After putting the kids to bed. It adds up because on the day when you have more time, you already have a foundation. Even if you don’t use what you wrote, you got it out of the way and it will lead to better things. Write in the morning. Write at night. Write when you can’t sleep. Write when all you want to do is sleep.
I have a friend (actually a couple, but I’ll merge them into one for this) who is jealous of the time I have to write. This person would love to be a writer, but just doesn’t have the time. I disagree. Sometimes, thinking I have unlimited time can be a detriment to the process of completing a project. When I have a job, I do a lot of “writing” while I work, looking forward to the time when I can jot down my ideas. The point is, we choose how we spend our time. There’s a quote, “I always wanted to be a boxer, until I fought someone who WANTED to be a boxer.” The point is, if you want to do something, do it.
Don’t wait until you “have the time.” Get a grain of sand and place it where you want it. Tomorrow, add another. Someday you’ll have your castle.