Q: I love writing poetry, but I’m finding it’s harder to make time for my writing. What can I do to avoid giving up my craft? —Anne, Sloatsburg, NY
A. Many of us can sympathize with your dilemma. While plenty of people have aspirations of writing collections of poetry or novels, everyday life—with school, work, family and friends—is so busy, it’s often difficult to “make time to write.” How can we ever achieve these apparent dreams of grandeur? My best advice is to recognize there is no perfect time to write, so don’t wait for one. Life is, well, lively, and luckily, it’s that way until it is, well, no more. There are always going to be things to distract you from your writing—housework, work-work, projects on the house and yard, socialization—but it’s up to you to prioritize what’s important to you. Having ideas and dreams does not make you a writer; but transferring those ideas from your head to the page and trying to do something with them does. If you are finding it nearly impossible to set aside time for writing, try carrying a notepad around with you everywhere you go—or, nowadays, you could utilize a smartphone or tablet for this—and scribbling down those beautifully random poetic lines that seem to bless your attention out of nowhere. This way, you won’t have to grieve the loss of this inspiration, if you later fail to recall it. This is fantastic advice for those who have hardly any and those who have ample time to write, as creativity is never calculable. Next, realize writing not only requires time, but also privacy. A good writer will reflect on his or her writing, which requires concentration. Self-analysis is necessary to create, and literary examination is essential to poetic development: don’t deny yourself what you, as a writer, deserve. Lastly, consider how much writing positively impacts you. Whether writing is cathartic or relaxing, it is definitely an opportunity to step away from the stress of life and have some time for ourselves; we all deserve this. Life is busy, no one can argue with that. But with 168 hours in a week, you owe it to yourself to take two for something about which you are truly passionate. The dishes can wait…your imagination awaits! Best of luck with your writing!