Consider writing as part of your self-care. You need air, water, food, shelter. At the next level of caring for yourself, you need warm clothes, boots perhaps, and take-out pizzas after a long week on a Friday evening. Some might consider cable tv a bare necessity. (I say that like it doesn’t describe me.) Some need massages and transcendental meditation. We all need family, friends and to fit in, belong. But there is also a secondary drive… to stand out.

Writers need to write. It is a deeply-seated urge, that is an instinct.  Abraham Maslow, one of the earliest positive psychologists identified this need – not a luxury or an indulgence, not something we do if and when we find the time, but a psychological need. 

What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.
 So that’s my thought for today. You find time every day to brush your teeth, cook food, maybe walk a bit, shower, and get your sleep. There is time for writing. You just have to understand it as a need, and make it part of your self-care. When you deny yourself this urge to do something to self-actualize, it is tantamount to going without sleep, or food, or water.
You can go 264 hours without sleep, and about 30 days without food. Only about 3 days without water. Or 3 minutes without air. The question is, how long can you live without writing?
People have proven you can live long lives without writing. But if you’re a writer? Mightn’t not writing shorten your life? Think of alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, bar fights and other manifestations of not writing. And if my age and weight are testament to anything, it’s that you can only outrun the obvious urge with alcohol and brownies for about 40 years. That’s when I finally broke down, admitted I wanted to write a book, and committed the time and effort to make it happen. (Motherhood to Otherhood. Running Press). (Oh, and quit drinking and lost 50 pounds but, that’s a different story.)
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
~ Maslow

Not having time is the most frequent excuse or complaint I hear from my clients. Sure, we’re all busy. But weigh the cost of not having peace. How much time-loss does that create? Without peace, we seek comfort in food, booze, creating drama in our lives… All big time-sucks.

Next time you’re giving your long locks 100 brushstrokes before bed, or breathing deeply, or drinking filtered water, let yourself have what you need for another bare necessity. Let yourself take time to write. Don’t think of it as an obligation or a chore, but a slaking of your thirst, a way to quell a deep hunger. You’ll find it makes its own time by giving you peace and filling a need.