I’ve found a lot of time lately to write. Actually, it would be more apt to say that I’ve made a lot of time lately to write and seized opportunities when they presented themselves. Although, I often hear from other writers that they just don’t have the time. It always reminds me of something that Dan Wells of www.writingexcuses.com said during one of their podcasts.
“You can’t do anything professionally during your spare time.”
Dan Wells in all his writerly glory.
I had to listen to that episode a few times before it finally sunk in, then a few more times before I actually did something about it. The first thing I did was set up a calendar on google calendars specifically for writing that I share with anyone who asks. (If you have a gmail account and want to keep tabs on me, send me an email and I’ll tell google to let you watch over me.) I set aside specific times of the day and night when I assume I’ll be able to write, usually ten to twelve every night after everyone has gone to bed. The house is dark, quiet, and free of distractions.
Lots of writing today!
Of course, sometimes the little one throws a wrench into that plan and I have to kick the start time back. Or maybe something else comes up, guests from out of town, holidays, simple fatigue. Any time I miss my scheduled writing, I adjust or delete my entry accordingly. I find that this helps to keep me accountable. I can look back after a couple of days and see that, “Hey, you haven’t done anything!”
I’m also a typist. I tend to write best when sitting at a computer and typing away, mainly because my freehand is so painfully slow (just like how I read). Still, when left with no options, I find that keeping my journal with me helps immensely.
Ah sacred journal, what treasures do you contain?
And how many bad ideas will you keep secret?
Just yesterday I went with Mel to San Francisco to find a bride’s maid dress for my sister’s wedding. I broke out the trusty journal (a gift from Mel) and started writing away on a new short story concept. Time that would have otherwise been lost was capitalized on.
One of the best ways to insure writing time is to set it in stone with peer pressure. I know that it’s something that we’re taught to stay away from in grade school, but sometimes there is nothing like it to make sure you get done what you need to. I make sure this happens by involving myself with two groups, the first is a weekly meet up group that formed during NaNoWriMo. Once a week we meet at Panera’s and write away. You don’t have to share, or show anything that you’ve done, you simply have protected time to do what you need to do, write.
By being away from the house you can be sure that no one is going to ask you any questions, kids aren’t going to come crashing through the door, nothing save for a major catastrophe at home is going to interfere with your writing (especially if you turn off your phone).
This writing group is supplemented with another, a fantasy writing group that I found on Yahoo. We meet every other week and critique one person’s work. Honestly, this schedule is a bit slow for me, but the feedback has been great. Eventually I would like to start a local meet up group that meets once a week and in which each of the participants get’s their work critiqued. It would be geared towards those writing a novel and each week we would all present one chapter of our work. And there you have it, the final piece of the puzzle, deadlines.
Deadlines are great for making sure that you set aside time to write. While writing is fun, it’s also not easy. So stop waiting for things to get easy and get to writing.
Just as I should be doing right now.