Free Time

If you were to visit my personal website, and if you poked around the interviews, and the Author2Author archives, and my books, and my blog, and Author magazine, and my coaching and workshops, you might conclude that I’m a pretty busy guy. This is an illusion I must maintain as a respectable adult. Most days I am not even a little busy, which is exactly how I like it. When I actually do get busy, if I have a chapter to finish and two clients to meet and an interview to shoot all in the same day, I feel as if my life has been hijacked. Mind you, I like doing all this stuff. I wouldn’t have agreed to do it otherwise. The problem is I agreed to do these things the day, or the week, or the month before. Now the day itself has arrived and I find myself yearning for free time, for a great blank page of an afternoon where I may ask myself, “What would please me most at this very moment?” I am nothing if not responsible, however, so I suck it up, and follow my schedule, and then collapse in the evening as if I’ve just spent the day laboring in a coal mine.

It’s a happy kind of collapse, honestly, since I enjoyed doing everything I did. It’s very confusing being me sometimes. Because the only thing I dislike more than being busy is being bored. You see the problem? The solution, if you can call it that, is a kind of practice I learned from writing. Writing is all about filling blank pages. Every single moment on the page, every chapter, paragraph, and sentence is different than what has been written before. The only way to succeed, to enjoy, to thrive while writing is to give the scene or sentence I am crafting my complete attention.

And by complete attention I mean disciplined forgetting. I must forget about the past and all my grievances with it; I must forget about the future and what I fear might happen there; I must forget about other people and what they like and don’t like; I must forget about my chores and my children and all my loved ones; I must forget about everything but the story I’m telling. In such a holy instant I meet life completely, neither bored nor fatigued, just aware and alive and interested. Time, no matter what I’m doing, is not actually an impediment to such an experience – there can never be too much or too little of it. The only impediment remains my attention, a thing so free it can lead me at any moment into heaven or hell.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group coaching.


Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence. You can find William at:

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