Things Will Never ‘Settle Down’

When? Then? Why not now?

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all looked at a project we want to start/continue/finish and thought, “Once things settle down, I’m going to put all my time and energy into this.”

But things never really settle down the way we think they will, do they?

We seem to convince ourselves — again and again — that once the holidays are over, as soon as so-and-so’s birthday comes and goes, when our kids are back in school, when our puppies finally start acting a little less like puppies, we’ll finally have the time/motivation/energy to Do All The Things.

You know as well as I do that this is not how life works.

Something else always comes up.

We’re never as full of fire or as inspired as we feel we need to be when the time to create that Thing finally comes around.

We almost always come up with another excuse. Another reason why “now” is not actually the right time after all.

But why can’t it be?

I’ve been putting off a passion project for at least a few years now. I was motivated and ready to finally start working on it … until a freelancing opportunity came along that I couldn’t pass up. And then I got a dog. My job suddenly became more stressful.

I said, “OK, when everything finally settles down, I’ll …”

It hasn’t settled down. I haven’t started the project. And that is no one’s fault but mine. Not because life keeps happening, but because I keep refusing to make this project a priority.

You can’t always do what you want, when you want. Things do come up that have to take your top priority spot and stay there for a while. Writing can’t always come first — that’s the reality of this life that has chosen us.

But if you keep finding reasons to put it off, guess what? It will never happen. And you’ll wonder why, when it’s all said and done, you didn’t just make an effort. Why you didn’t just … try.

Life is too short to worry whether or not you’ll have regrets when it’s supposedly too late.

I know working is exhausting and writing isn’t always as fun as people think it is and when you’ve been working 10-hour days plus #personallifeproblems and it’s 9pm and you want the day to end, the last thing you want to do is write.

But the life that surrounds writing is full of sacrifices and “I don’t want tos” and “I’d rather be doing something elses.” Whether or not you choose to develop strategies to work around these mental (sometimes physical) barriers to get writing done anyway is, ultimately, up to you.

Don’t keep waiting for things to settle. They won’t.

Don’t keep letting your excuses overpower your ambitions.

You may not feel like doing it now, or think you can’t manage squeezing it in now. But if you really think it’s worth it, you will find a way. There is always, if you look hard enough and try hard enough and believe hard enough all at once, a way.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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4 thoughts on “Things Will Never ‘Settle Down’

  1. YES! And, if I may, it’s important to remember that during those extremely unsettled times, when we don’t set the best priorities or just can’t get it done, tomorrow is another day, with fresh choices and opportunities :)

  2. I agree wholeheartedly, and I can’t help but be struck by the language used. How we express ourselves is so telling, and a phrase like “something came up” is a great example. How often do writers say “something came up” in regards to writing? Imagine actually telling someone “I can’t, something came up” and that something is writing.
    I feel like that’s an interesting avenue for examining how we regard writing.
    I haven’t done it many times, but at least once in the recent past I told someone that I couldn’t attend a social event after all, and the reason was because I wasn’t happy with the quantity/quality of writing I’d completed so far that week, and I decided that as part of my “proof” that I am a writer I needed to stay home and shore up my writing efforts.
    Granted, that’s a very personal choice, but I think it’s important to occasionally let writing be “the thing that came up” instead of something that has to accommodate everything else.

    1. I legitimately told someone the other day, when asked why I’d stopped working on a specific story, “It’s too hard and I’m tired.” Terrible excuse, but it was the truth. I talk a lot here about how many writers can’t finish things because they make too many excuses, but I’m just as guilty.

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