Jeffe is a prolific and diverse writer. Her large body of work includes essays and poetry, science fiction, fantasy and erotica. She has won numerous awards, and her work has been featured in several anthologies. Her latest piece, Petals and Thorns (it falls in the last category, just so you know), launched earlier this month. And, she completed a novel and sent the manuscript to an interested agent this week! Fingers crossed for you, girl!
You can learn more about Jeffe's writing here. In the meantime, she has a very strong message to share about pursuing your passion, "Just do it!"
So, I’m the third in Elizabeth’s guest-blog series on finding the time for your passions in the tumult of a busy life.
I warned her straight out that I’m militant on this topic. Ericka and Jenn both offered terrific strategies for dealing with life going awry and how to adjust for that. I’m warning you now that I’m not about balance. I’m about priorities. I’m going to tell you something different: you owe it to your passion to make everything else adjust to that.
No, really. I mean it.
For me it’s writing, so I’m going to speak to that, but I think any art or discipline will be the same in principle.
When I first started writing, I worked a full-time job in Environmental Consulting (still do), had two young stepchildren and studied and taught martial arts in the evenings. So, my first caveat is, no, I never did the baby/toddler thing and I have no idea how any of you manage to do anything besides that. I won’t even touch that. But I will tell you the main thing I learned:
You will never, ever find time to write.
It simply doesn’t happen because there is always something else that needs doing. There will always be plenty of people ready to have you help them with their stuff instead and, as women, we respond to that. (If there are men reading this, I’m assuming you’re nurturing types, so same goes.)
If you want time to write, you must make it.
Not just make the time, but carve it out of nothing and defend it with all the ferocity in your heart. You have to get mean about it, even, which isn’t easy. But if you’re not willing to carve out that 30 minutes or one hour or two hours every day and build a wall around with razor wire on top, everything else in your life will eat it up.
I don’t know why this is, but it’s true.
More, you have to go the extra step and make that time more important than anything else. Yes, that’s what I said: more important than anything else. Because if it isn’t, then all the things that are more important will turn out to be everything and they will devour it without regret.
This is what I’ve learned over fifteen years of writing. If you make that chunk of writing time sacred, it will get done. And then you will have all the rest of the hours of every day to devote to all of your other duties and devotions.
It won’t be easy, especially at first. You might have to get mean. You might hear yourself saying things like “I know it looks like I’m just staring at the computer screen, but until x o’clock, I cannot help you find your blue shirt, feed you, staunch your bleeding wound, etc.
So, yes, okay, sometimes there will be emergencies. But when you create your sacred writing time and build the wall around it, pick a time when someone else can deal with the blood. Or when the potential bleeders are sleeping and thus less likely to get themselves into trouble.
Ursula Hegi, in her terrific book Intrusions, talks about her youngest child lying outside her office, breathing under the door. She learned to ignore it.
I do believe there should be balance in life, but I’m not sure it’s easy to achieve. I also believe that passion isn’t about balance. If you have a real passion, then it’s about a burning desire to do something.
So do it. Make the time and fight for it.