About once a week, I get the same question about my writing: “Where do you find the time to do it so much?” I can tell you this: it ain’t easy.
Here’s how I do it: I get up every morning around 5:00, go to the gym, and wake myself up with a hard workout. After I get home, I write as much as I can until one of my daughters wakes up.
On the bus ride to and from work, I dictate into my phone. And when I’m at work, I often use my lunch break to write. Finally, when I get back home, I write in the evenings if my wife is busy and the kids are asleep, which is rare.
You would think it would lead to burnout. It doesn’t, and it hasn’t – but it could. And here’s how:
I could get burned out if I looked at the number of people who click on each post I write – I don’t. I don’t want to use reader interest to gauge what I should write about. I want to write about things that are true and meaningful to me; and if someone else likes it, great. But I don’t want to train myself to only feel validated when people applaud with clicks.
I could get burned out if I based my self-worth on getting published. Occasionally, you see my stuff published here and there; and maybe that looks sort of impressive. If you could see things from my perspective, you’d feel differently. I can’t count the number of publishers who have rejected my articles or simply haven’t responded at all when I make pitches to them. So I celebrate my victories when my stuff gets published, remain grateful for the kind folks who read my blog, and pray that God somehow uses my writing to make an eternal difference in the readers’ lives.
I could get burned out if good, hard work weren’t its own reward. Most of us want to experience the benefits of hard work without having to do the work. We procrastinate on complicated projects; we let the weeds get out of control in the flower bed; we always let someone else do the volunteering at church. Why? Because hard work is a painfully humbling reminder that our inherent greatness isn’t enough to guarantee success. I’ve learned to love the work that comes with writing and re-writing, and it helps me keep going when I’m staring at another blank screen.
I could get burned out if I didn’t have a life. I do very little writing when my family is around – why? Because I like my family more than I like writing. Another thing: I don’t need 1,000 extra people to follow me on Facebook or Twitter – why? Because I feel a strong connection to the friends I have in my real life. And I don’t fret when a publisher doesn’t want to purchase my article – why? Because I like my job, and I’m grateful for the paycheck I get. Writing doesn’t fulfill me – it blesses me, and it gives me an avenue through which I can bless others.
So basically, the reason I’m able to write so much is because I’m having fun working hard at my craft while living the life God has placed in front of me. The day I can’t do that anymore, I need to hang it up.