Time – I have written so many posts on time. It must be something I’m dealing with on various levels. According to the Internet a ridiculous number of people are stressed about not having enough time. There are numerous articles about the topic, and a hundred different lists of what to do about it. Just google it. But how do I define time for my writing? We all need to figure that question out for ourselves.
For me, I take things one day at a time (pun intended). For example, It’s September, so I’ve recently gone back to my “day-job” as a teacher. This means I am overly busy and exhausted getting back into the swing of things. I wasn’t sure how writing on the side was going to go.
But it went… like this: One day I was lucky enough to get in some reading and write a draft of a new poem. The next day; nothing. The day after that, I had a surge of energy and motivation, revising several chapters in my novel rewrite, and even read a chapter in my book. The day after that, a very slim start to a poem, a revision in my rewrite, a few tweaks to a previous poem draft, and half of a chapter read from my book. The day after that – nothing.
But, I look at it like this: I try to read and write every day – I ride the wave when motivation hits and pray for inspiration when it fades. And always, I think like the writer I want to be.
Here are a few of my inner, unstated rules:
Insist on balance.
Yet, be honest.
If I want to be the real writer I’m thinking like, then I’m going to need to write… a lot.
A friend from a writing group posted a comment on social media about “just sitting down and doing the work.” It resonated with me because most of the writing successes I’ve experienced nearly always begin with me sitting my heinie down at my desk, regardless of how I feel, and just writing.
For this reason, I’ve made my desk a very special place to write. It’s surrounded by art from my daughter and friends, Glassybaby candles to set the mood, and books! I try not to do anything else at my desk, like write bills or complete school-work. It’s purely for writing poetry, working on my novel rewrite, and keeping up with my writing blog, my writing groups, and my author pages in social media. Most importantly – it’s where I can open a blank document and just start typing whatever words pour out. I keep everything, even if it’s awful… You have to write the bad before you can get to the good.
My desk area may only be a corner of my bedroom, but I’ve made it count. I am intentional when sitting down to create. This is one way, “I think like the writer I want to become.”
Another? I am not bogged down with typing a certain number of pages, or for a certain amount of time. Although I know this works for many people out there, it’s not what gets me back to the page. What’s my trick? Since I am already internally driven to get to my desk and write, the fine line is using the time I do find well. I can destroy all hope before I begin if I think to myself, “I only have twenty minutes. I’m so tired. It won’t matter anyway. I’ll barely get into it and will have to stop. I’ll just wait until tomorrow.” These are killin’ words… thoughts that stop the creative process and keep writers down. That’s why it’s tricky. It takes enormous discipline to ignore my inner critic and push past to do even the smallest amount of work. Whatever I can do, I do. I can hear my friend’s words sing in my mind, “Just do the work.”
I’m sure as I near the end of this big rewrite project I’m focused on, I will set more strenuous deadline-like pressures on myself. But right now, I can’t afford the guilt, negativity, or stress to get in my way. I can’t wait to try and schedule in my writing time because as every busy writer knows, schedules get postponed or interrupted or neglected. I don’t want to worry about when I will write, or how much I’ll write. I want to know that every day I can write, I will.
With this attitude of writing when I can, as often as I can, then when I can’t write; it’s okay. I am a teacher. I have a family. I must remain realistic about my life. Writing in those little pockets assures I find the balance I need.
Googling “how to find more time in my day” will deliver a vast number of articles with suggestions, ideas, and tips to find organization in time management. I suggest reading several, then thinking about what makes sense in your own life.
How do you use your time to get writing?
Writing Advice: Finding Time-Pockets!
As you go through your busy days this fall, see what happens when you stop and write within a few found pockets of time. Perhaps fifteen minutes in the morning before you head out the door to work. It might be that super-condensed time slot where you come up with a plan of action to take your story next. Or maybe you revise the opening to your book for the hundredth time and make it all the better. Maybe you write the start of a poem or an article. Then do it again at the end of your lunch break. Ten quick minutes to look over something you wrote earlier or just to write a few lines. Fit in another twenty to thirty minutes before bed.
It may seem like it’s not worth it. Though wouldn’t you rather fall asleep at the end of a stressful day knowing you did something to help your story or poem along? Yes, I’m envisioning making lemonade out of lemons right now. For me, when I realize what I’ve accomplished the day before (in little time), it motivates me to continue looking for those pockets. This way I don’t wake up next June with school ending, saying to myself, “Now I can finally get to work on my book.”
That’s just a lot of time wasted.
Search for smaller moments of time. They’re hidden everywhere. It’s just a quick switch in attitude. Like a power-snooze to sleepers without time, how about a power-write for writers without time? Tell me what you think?
~By Celaine Charles, September 9, 2018
Any unlisted images are from my iPhone. 😊
http://writenonfictionnow.com/find-writing-time-nonfiction-writing-prompt-14/ (pocket of time in sand)
https://quotesgram.com/fair-trade-quotes/ (write a little becomes a lot)
https://thebigmansworld.com/2014/06/10/balancing-blogging-real-world/ (finding balance)
http://www.livehalffullblog.com/2013/07/22/monday-motivation-83/ (one day at a time)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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