Somebody asked me recently where I find the time to blog. Actually, people ask me quite often where I find the time to do a lot of the things I do. I usually answer with something snarky because most people don’t actually want to hear the real answers. The question isn’t actually a question, it’s an emotional expression – of what I’m not quite sure. But on the off chance that one or two of my readers actually care (occasionally someone does), here are the real answers. To help, each one is preceded by one of the snarky answers that I give.
Sleep is for the weak. I honestly probably don’t sleep enough. I average six to seven hours of sleep a night. But this isn’t because I’m busy – it’s because I can’t sleep. I’ve had trouble with sleep for as long as I can remember. I can definitively recall having trouble getting to sleep as young as seven years old. Before that I can’t remember. But my six year old son has the same kinds of trouble sleeping that I do, and he has for years. I strongly suspect that I’ve had trouble for just as long. I sleep better now than I ever have before. A combination of better eating, exercise, and nightly melatonin supplements has made a world of difference. But I still don’t sleep more than seven hours most night. Exception: occasionally it catches up with me and I sleep for extended periods. Exception 2: about once or twice a year I have bouts of insomnia where I can’t sleep more than two hours a night for three to five days in a row. These have become less frequent since I started taking nightly melatonin.
If I don’t stay busy I get bored. This is actually true as stated and not just snark. My mind does not shut down, ever, except in two circumstances: when I finally manage to fall asleep or when I’m exercising with extreme intensity. Neither of those circumstances guarantees it, either. Those are just the only times it actually happens. I might as well put it to use. But that’s not the real truth. The real truth is that if I don’t stay busy I get depressed. And that’s far worse. Human beings are not meant to be idle. Most depressed people would be better served by six weeks of boot-camp style intensity than by medication. I know you feel tired, but that’s not because of too little rest: it’s because of too much. Get off your butt and do something real.
I don’t watch much TV. This is another one that’s generally true. The average American watches four hours of TV a day. I struggled to figure out where they find time for that; then I remember that 41% of the adult population doesn’t work… and what else are they going to do all day? But I digress. I watch an average of four hours of television a week – and that only during the prime TV season. And that’s actually high for me this year, and it’s all because of the DC TV Universe. More generally: I don’t do a lot of other things that people like to do for fun. I write blog posts and troll Twitter instead.
There are some other answers, too, beyond the snark.
I spend far less time on this than you might think. My average blog post is less than 1000 words. Many are less than 500. I rarely edit them. I never proofread them. I seldom even read them through when I’m finished. Half the time I know what I’m going to write before I start it. The typical post takes me about 10-15 minutes to write – tops. It’s a blog for crying out loud. If it takes you more time than that, you’re doing it wrong. Yes, I have the occasional word vomit – like my series on converting to Catholicism. On the other hand, I wrote that entire series five years ago. Which leads me to my next point.
I recycle content whenever I can. Like this morning’s post, which was literally copied and pasted from my newest book and then reformatted. Or the aforementioned series on Catholicism. Or my series on Orbital Mechanics, which has been submitted to another publisher for possible inclusion in an upcoming anthology (no word back yet; we’ll see). Or submitting “The Fourth Fleet” for re-publication in There Will Be War: Volume X. I like to get the most I possibly can out of everything that I do.
You find the time to do what you prioritize. This is the biggest issue, and it’s the one that people don’t want to hear. We all have the same twenty-four hours a day. The things you do and the things you don’t do with that time are your choice. I’m not criticizing you for it, either. But if you’re not finding time to blog, or run a dojo, or start a publishing company, or edit an anthology, or write a novel, or whatever it is that you haven’t gotten done… at the end of the day it’s because you don’t want it badly enough. That’s fine if it’s your honest choice. We can’t do everything. I’m not going to be a filmmaker or an award winning cake decorator or an artist. I haven’t dedicated the time to those. What are you dedicating your time to?
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