Monday, August 09, 2010

Finding Time to Write

A writer must make time to write every day. Even if she can only peck out a few words or sentences, it’s better than not writing at all.

What of the writer who, like me, has a day job? I come home tired, yet I have to fix dinner or risk starvation. The laundry monster roars, cats demand food, litter boxes need scooping and …

The list is endless.

Yet, I’m still supposed to write?


True, those of us who work have less time than stay-at-home writers, but it can be done.

  • Carry a tape recorder with you. Record those ideas as they come and get them on paper later. Think about your manuscript while shopping for groceries, on your commute, or while you’re brushing your teeth. Sometimes my best ideas come to me while I’m in the shower.
  • If you have a laptop, take it to work with you. On your lunch break, find a private location and get busy. If you don’t own a laptop, print out the latest chapter and edit it while you eat your bologna sandwich.
  • One writer I met uses Documents To Go on her BlackBerry. The app has a Word document, and while her car’s getting an oil change, or when she’s waiting at the doctor’s office, she works on her manuscript. Once she gets home, she uploads to her desktop computer. Another writer takes her laptop to her kid’s soccer games.
  • Set a time every day and dedicate it to writing, even if you can only manage thirty minutes. If time is a problem, set a word count goal. You’d be surprised how fast 250 words a day (about one page, double spaced) can add up.
  • Turn off the TV.

If writing is important to you, you must make time for it. But it does call for dedication. Sometimes it requires a firm voice to family members, or a lock on your office door.

Billy Crystal’s character in Throw Mama from the Train said, “A writer writes. Always.” So, what are you waiting for? Shake the muse awake.

And start writing.

Lorna wrote her first story when she was twelve years old. In 1992 Country Extra magazine published one of her short stories. She writes a blog, Myriad Musings, and is working on a novel called Wounded Hearts.

Until next time,


Linda Yezak said...

Good post, Lorna! The young lady who sold me my Blackberry says she uses it to draft out her manuscripts. Of course, her thumbs are a bit more nimble than mine . . .

Tracy Krauss said...

Lorna's advice is sound - but sometimes difficult! :) I find it hard to turn my brain on and off when I get in the 'writing zone'. Setting a goal of 1/2 an hour a day just wouldn't work for me, but I find a word count does. (Sometimes)Right now I'm on my summer 'writing retreat' (at my sister's house) and I write for 12 to 14 hours a day. Once school starts again (I'm a teacher) that will al change. What ever works - just keep on pounding those keys!

Lorna G. Poston said...

@Linda: I can't see using my BlackBerry to write my manuscript either. Just typing an email or Facebook status is difficult. If it works for some people though, then that's great!

@Tracy: I'll keep pounding the keys and you do the same. Blessings on your WIP.

Thanks for commenting, ladies!

Lorna G. Poston said...

Liberty, thanks for having me today!

Unknown said...

Great post. I'm a firm advocate of writing every day. Procrastination and writer's block become much less intimating when we face them on a daily basis.

Lorna G. Poston said...

Thanks, Katie. I still have days where my muse is either asleep or on vacation. My word count isn't anything to brag about, but I do make an effort to write something, anything—every day.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

It's far too easy to let laundry, kitty litter and all the other minutae of life suck away writing time. Even full-time writers like myself do well to maintain a daily focus.

Lorna G. Poston said...

I guess procrastination and other excuses happens to everyone. :)

Sandra Heska King said...

Great post, Lorna!

Love the last hint--turn off the TV. Sometimes we have to let some things go.

Lorna G. Poston said...

Thanks, Sandra. Glad you stopped by!

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