Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Writer's Life - Issue 5

Finding time to write…

This is something that divides the true writer from the ones who claim merely to aspire to one day be a writer. Allow me a geek moment to quote Yoda… “Do or do not. There is no try.” This is certainly true of writing. If you’re going to write, then sit down and write. Don’t cry about not having the time, make the time to write.

Writing is a passion, an addiction, the sweetest of drugs. For a writer, writing is not just something you do to pass the time. It’s something you do because you must, because it’s in your blood, because you can’t imagine a moment when you’re not writing. And writing doesn’t necessarily mean that every moment is spent pouring sweat while typing away madly at your laptop. It’s also researching and experiencing. It’s thinking up story lines while driving 80 mph down the highway (not condoning this, but it happens, hehe). Sometimes, writing is even reading, seeing how other authors do what they do, seeing what works and what doesn’t work.

But mostly writing is about writing. The problem is finding the time to write, especially when life gets in the way. Waiting for your Muse or inspiration to strike is not an option. (Personally, I like to avoid waiting for my Muse to strike, as she often does so with a steel mallet the size of Texas, and often when it’s most inconvenient to write, like when I’m at work.)

I’ve heard many writers who tout that a daily schedule works best for them. Set a specific time aside each day to focus solely on writing. This method certainly has its advantages. Structure and order can be very helpful to productivity.

I, however, don’t have a typical day job. I’m a studio photographer when I’m not writing, so my work hours are very…chaotic. Especially during the holidays. Thus finding one particular time to write every day isn’t always possible. Nor though is it impossible. It’s not always easy for me to write every single day. But I do try to open whatever project I’m working on each day, whether it’s late at night or throughout the day on a rare day that I’m off work. Sometimes I’m at my desk, sometimes I take my laptop to a café, sometimes I take the laptop to the bedroom with me or curl up on the couch with it. Sometimes I don’t even write on the laptop with all its distractions. I have several notebooks with random scenes from various novels because sometimes I find it easier (and less distracting) to write longhand first. And when it’s not so hectic at work, I have been known to take my laptop, or a notebook, and spend those precious moments of my lunch break writing away while nibbling on a sandwich. The chaos makes for slow writing at times, but what’s more important is that I’m writing. I’m not setting it aside, wishing I had more time to write. (I do wish I had more time to write, but that’s beside the point.) In fact, sometimes I get more done when I have little time to write, like on my lunch breaks. Or right now, as I’m typing this article out before a 12 hour shift at work.

The point is, if you want to write, then do it! There is no one right way to make time to write. Everyone has their own methods. Don’t let life interfere. Make your life work around your writing schedule. Find the time to write, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes a day. Those fifteen minutes are still better than spending no time at all writing. And if you can’t think of anything to write, then just write nonsense. Sometimes, you’ll find a story there that you didn’t even know you had. Or sometimes, you just find nonsense, toss it aside, and try something different the next time. Just write.

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