Finding time to write. That is the question.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot—and not just because it’s the ISWG’s question of the month. As summer draws to a close, I know my life will get extremely busy soon. And there’s always the question of how am I going to squeeze in writing?
Often I think of my writing life in terms of Before and After. Before I took a class on writing a novel, I had one way of writing: the struck by lightning method. If an idea hit me over the head or I was inspired, I wrote. If it didn’t, I didn’t. I didn’t write every day. I didn’t usually revise my work. Stories often came to me fully formed. But I never got beyond chapter three of any novel I started.
After that class, I took my writing more seriously, or maybe I should say, I took myself more seriously. I finally thought I could do this writer thing. Although I still sometimes write in fits and starts—I started doing something revolutionary to me at the time: I write even when I didn’t feel like it.
And that made a huge difference.
Fast forward to now. I still struggle with finding time to write. Ideally, I write best during the day, but that’s not usually when I can write. I write at night when the house is quiet—and it’s rare that I have more than an hour altogether, so I’ve learned to do what I can with what I have. Even if I only have fifteen minutes—that’s something.
I don’t have a set word count, but if I’m drafting, I try to write one scene or if I’m editing, revise one scene or chapter. But I also count other things as my writing time. In my book (excuse the pun), research counts, even though I’m always anxious to get back to stringing words together.
I’ve also learned a lot from EAT THAT FROG (Brian Tracy). I try as much as possible to do the hard things first. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I keep my schedule simple, because if I’m running this way and that, I cannot write.
It’s hard writing at night. I’m often tired after a long day and just want to curl up and watch Netflix. Pulling out the computer, switching gears to open my document is like swimming against the tide.
But I’m always glad I did.
The strange thing about writing when you don’t feel like it is that only the first five minutes are hard. I usually have to bargain with myself. Just open the document and look at it. Just read what you wrote yesterday. Just revise that one paragraph. But I never stop at that. And when I’m through, I’m happy. Happier than I would’ve been if I had done nothing, waiting for lightning to strike.
How do you find time to write in your busy day?
What is Insecure Writer's Support Group?
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG will be C. Lee McKenzie, Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!
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