Friday Find: Words of Wisdom from Tayari Jones

Author Tayari Jones is about to embark on a month dedicated to her writing, and the post she added to her blog yesterday explaining her imminent departure (especially the part I’m quoting here) really resonated with me:

Why all the drama? Why not just set up a DIY writing clinic in my apartment. I do have a dedicated room just for writing. I’m getting away because I feel that I am been distracted from myself by my life. I have been way too busy being too many things to too many people and I have really gotten out of touch with my work. I know that this happens to everyone, but I feel particularly frustrated because I spend so much time telling other writers to put themselves first. But here I am, in the same trap as everyone else.

Tayari’s post really got me thinking. A month seems an impossible dream given my current circumstances, but something shorter should be feasible. I need it. I owe it to myself, for a lot of reasons, to work very hard on carving out some real, dedicated time for my writing.

Because I, too, have “been distracted from myself by my life…way too busy…have really gotten out of touch with my work.” And, I, too, feel that I spend a lot of time encouraging other writers (you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog if that weren’t the case). At some point, I need to encourage myself.

Not sure when, where, or how this gift of time to myself and my writing will happen. But it WILL happen.

And for that, I thank Tayari Jones. Have a wonderful, productive month, Tayari!

3 thoughts on “Friday Find: Words of Wisdom from Tayari Jones

  1. deonne kahler says:

    Erika, thanks for this. Everything is always easier than the writing – for me, it’s prepping to teach Intro to Creative Writing this fall, developing a new nonprofit poetry project, starting a small business, my day job. All worthy pursuits, but pursuits that take an extraordinary amount of time.

    But if I’m not writing every day, not giving myself the time to improve and grow as a writer, then a year from now I’ll have lots of cool projects and will be no further along with my craft, which is the thing I care about the most. So thank you for the reminder to keep the writing in the forefront. I’d love to brainstorm with you about how you’ll find the time for yourself! You can make it happen.

  2. Erika D. says:

    We shall brainstorm, indeed!

  3. C Riede says:

    Thanks for this post…it’s a good point to mention. You are right, you do owe it to yourself to carve out some dedicated time for your writing. No doubt.

    I’ve gone for long periods with no dedicated time for writing–something always came first–and it made life feel so difficult–I became resentful that I couldn’t carve out the time to do the thing that feeds my spirit most.

    Twice, I have been fortunate to have had the gift of a month to do nothing but write–once in 1994, and again in 1999. Both times, though, I felt so incredibly sad and frustrated when the month ended, and I couldn’t figure out a way to make it continue.

    I have, luckily, at this point, found a way that works the best for me: I put my writing first thing in the morning. An hour for it and it alone, before anything else. I make coffee, and then I write for an hour. It’s not always easy to make it work–things happen–but I’ve put priority on making it work, so even if I get off track for a day or two, I find my way back, due to the reward of the practice.

    The reward being that, afterward, as I go through the day dealing with obligations and worries and projects, I feel some small peace of mind that I gave my writing the attention I know it needs to thrive, first. And it, in turn, helps me to thrive.

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