A friend recently told me he had an idea for a book and planned to write it after he retires in 10 years. I frequently hear comments like that, often about writing or some other dream for the future. “Someday, I would love to…” Followed by the excuses: “My kids are involved in too many activities right now; things are really crazy at work; I don’t have a calm, quiet place to write; I don’t have time . . .”
My advice is always the same: don’t wait! Your life will always be too busy with too many things to do. You’ll never have time unless you carve out time. And the quietest, calmest place you’ll ever live is in the cemetery. Harsh advice, maybe? But I learned it through experience.
When I first dreamed of writing I had a nine-year-old, a two-year-old, a newborn, and a husband who worked two jobs. I had no idea if I had any talent and not a clue about how to get published. I simply sat down one day when my oldest was in school and my younger ones napped and began to write. It didn’t take long to figure out I loved it. The short story I thought I was writing eventually grew into a 5 book series entitled “The Chronicles of the Kings”. I was hooked. And then my kids outgrew naps and life turned crazy.
I attended a Christian Writers’ Conference two or three years later and author Jerry Jenkins offered some wonderful advice. His sons were young at the time, and he still had a full-time job, but he said he’d promised God he wouldn’t write until his children were in bed. “Of course,” he added, “I sometimes have to put them to bed at 4:00 in the afternoon…” He was joking, but his point about setting priorities was exactly what I needed to hear. My spiritual life and my family were my top priorities. But if my dream to write truly had come from God, then it needed to be near the top of my list, too.
I set up my computer in our family room, in the middle of Lego creations and dollhouses and art projects, and learned to write in spite of the chaos and constant interruptions. I carried notebooks and research books to hockey practices and swimming lessons, and planned my next chapter while pushing kids on swings. I didn’t know the meaning of “peace and quiet.”
My point is, don’t wait! Just do it! Do it now while the dream is vivid and your passion burns. Chances are the urge that won’t go away, the dream that won’t die, is exactly the dream God has for you. It’s never too soon or too late to start. Rearrange your busy life. Adjust your priorities to make room. Then—just do it! Let your only regret be that you didn’t start sooner.