Writing commitments -- what are they? Surely, writing is that stuff you squeeze into your spare time -- and other people see their pulls on my time as more important than anything squeezed into spare time. Sorry, but they're not. Today, I had an email from someone who wanted me to look over a chunk of manuscript. Writing related, sure, but I had to say no. It made me feel rotten -- truly -- but I'm not getting enough time for my novel at the moment, and that *has* to be my priority.
For others, other people (or tasks) demand time for less writerly reasons. It might be the neighbour -- whose concerns and needs are genuine. It might be a mother or father, a cousin or aunt. It might be the man in the butcher's shop, or the girl you see by the lake. In the end it's up to us: we have to decide whether we want to write or not.
A few years ago, Robin Hobb spoke at a Melbourne SF convention. In her Guest of Honour speech she said something along the lines of: you will never have more time to write than now. If you put off your writing until you retire, or until your neighbour moves out or whatever, you won't write because there will always be new demands on your time. If I got nothing else out of that con, it was worth going just to hear that. It's one of the great truths of writing. Write it down and stick it by your computer and then think about what you want to be at the end of day. Do you want to be a writer or not? If you do, you need to make time, not excuses.