Now I'd like to talk about making the most of the time devoted to writing that you've carved out of your busy life. This could be a discussion about outlining or story structure of overcoming writer's block, but it's not. I want to address how we feel and think about writing. Is it just a hobby? A guilty pleasure? A selfish pursuit? Is it really worth the time?
I suppose those are questions that we have to answer for ourselves. But if you want to succeed as a writer--in whatever way you define success--then you are going to have to take it seriously.
When I first started out, I read in a book on writing (or maybe heard at a conference) that it was important to take yourself seriously as a writer. I took that advice to heart. I told people I was a writer, even before I was close to getting anything published. I kept my writing dreams at the forefront of my mind. Fortunately, I was blessed with supportive family and friends, which I know not all of us have.
Still, there were times when I felt guilty for taking time to write, and when I felt like maybe I was just being selfish, or that all the effort just wasn't really worth it. Heck, I still feel that way sometimes. But in order to achieve your writing hopes and dreams, you must banish these negative and unproductive feelings!
Deiter F. Uchtdorf, a very wise man, said:
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. ,. . .Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty."
No, you are not wasting your time. You are creating something that did not exist before, and that it is inherently worthwhile! You are developing your God-given talents and you are giving service to those who will read your words, even if it's just your family and friends. However, if you take it seriously enough, if you don't let anything stand in your way, it won't be just your family and friends. Who knows? You could write something that changes the world. President Uchtdorf also said:
"Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside."
Yes, there must be balance. Only you can decide what that balance is. But don't let fear or guilt or anything else get in the way of the deepest yearnings of your heart. You can do this. You should do this. No, get out there and do it!
P.S. You can read the entire address from President Uchtdorf here.