I Don’t Have Time (or do I?)

Today someone asked me if I’m disciplined. Disciplined? Me? That’s a relative term and I had to ask for clarification before answering. After all, if she could see my haphazard approach to housework, she wouldn’t need to ask. But the reference was to daily writing so I was able to affirm that yes, I do write every day, although not always at the same hour. I’m not that disciplined.


Not everyone agrees daily writing is essential to an author’s success, but those who have read about Morning Pages, Weekly Walks and Artist’s Dates will know Julia Cameron isn’t one of those people. She is a remarkably self-disciplined author, artist, composer, filmmaker, teacher and journalist. It doesn’t matter how she feels, where she is, or how much time she does or doesn’t have, her creative commitment is always fulfilled. Whenever I feel as if I don’t have time to write, I think of something I read in her book “The Right to Write”.


She says, “The “if-I-had-time” lie is a convenient way to ignore the fact that novels require being written and that writing happens a sentence at a time. Sentences can happen in a moment. Enough stolen moments, enough stolen sentences, and a novel is born–without the luxury of time.”*


My dictionary defines disciplined as “showing orderliness and control in the way something is done or somebody behaves.” When it comes to writing, we are the ones who control our own output. For me the daily question is: will I take control and make time today?



*The Right to Write, Julia Cameron (Tarcher/Putnam, 1998)




Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Have Time (or do I?)

  1. Great article, Careann. I’m overwhelmed by all that needs doing. Wish there was a magic wand handy. I’d rather write than cook, clean, do laundry or shop. But it’s gotta be done. More power to you if you can get as much done as possible without allowing guilt to ruin those little successes.

  2. Unfortunately I’m not nearly as effective at finding time for housework and other such tasks as I am for writing because, like you, I’d rather write than do any of the other stuff. When I’m faced with the household chores threatening to bury me I generally do a blitz and get as much done as possible in one grand sweep. It’s not the most thorough job, but if I can’t see the dust I figure no one else can either, so I can go back to writing with a clear conscience. Priorities, priorities! 😉

  3. When I’m stuck or blocked, housework actually helps. It must have something to do with releasing those endorphins. lol.

    Seriously, there is this moment when I step back and see: clean floors, clean counters, pet-hair-free sofa, dust-free living room, and suddenly I can’t wait to sit down and write. I’m free of that nagging guilt associated with knowing there are pressing things pressing.

    And while I vacuum, I replay that problem scene through my head until the logistics feel right.

    I wonder if Patricia Cornwell, Carolyn Howard-Johnson or Gayle Lynds have a housekeeper?

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