Friday, September 4, 2015

Make Time For Writing

It's been a long time since I've written a blog post about writing craft. I've missed it and thought about doing a new post for quite a while now. I decided to start out small, one post a week about the craft.

This week I thought I'd talk about making time for writing. As a writer we all hear others saying they would love to write a book, if they had the time. The thing is, we are writers because we make the time to writer. Not because we have the time to write. It's not a hobby we just do for fun. We bleed our souls onto the paper. We do it because we love it. We have to do it. It's like breathing for us. Words, characters, worlds - they need to be purged from our souls, onto the paper. This is a hard thing for non-writers to understand.

How do we make time?

Schedule Writing Time: 

This is a big one. Set aside time specifically for writing just as you would for working or exercising. I do my workouts every single night at the same time, right after my five year old goes to bed. It's the same for my writing. I am trying to rework my schedule now that school has started to have a set time every day just for writing. Reworking my schedule this year is a tad more difficult since I have two kids in two different schools. And I'm looking for a job, that's my full time priority at the moment.

I am very fortunate to be in the Austin area. This means I have access to The Writing Barn. Every month they host Write Away Days. These are days devoted to writing, with other writers, in a peaceful, serene location. It is distraction free. You know what I'm talking about. The phone, the doorbell, the laundry, and so on. All those little things around the house that you think you need to be doing instead of writing. I cannot tell you how much I love Write Away Days. Even if you do not have something similar you can still do your own version. Find a coffee shop and go hang out, all day, drinking coffee and writing. You have to make writing a priority, even if it's only for a short period of time a day. 

Make Writing a Routine: 

I've seen this around the internet a lot, Butt in Chair. Routine. The more you do it, the more routine it will be for you and you will just do it. There was a point in time that I stopped writing, life was just too crazy and I sort of fell off the wagon. It's like exercise. It's hard to get into the routine, but once you start and stick with it, you can't stop. I feel awful if I miss a workout. Same thing with my writing. When I set aside time for it every single day, I feel horrible and guilty for missing it when I do. Some days there is too much going on and I barely have time to breathe, those days I allow myself to skip writing, but only one day, and not often.

No Excuses: 

This goes along with the first two points above. If you are scheduling time and creating a routine for your writing, you probably are not making excuses not to write. Writer's block? Nope. But in chair. There are a million things you can do to jump start your writing. Take that time you have scheduled. Stick to your routine. Research your topic, update your synopsis, create a new outline, re-read previous chapters, pull out a writing craft book and read. Don't make excuses. We have all been there. "I just don't feel it right now." I have to remind myself it doesn't matter. There are other things related to writing that I can do if I'm not feeling the story at the moment. No excuses.

Turn off your Wi-Fi: 

Let's face it. We are writers and our number one favorite place to be is on Twitter. I see you all there. Because I'm there, too. Procrastination is our BFF. Another aspect I love about the Writing Barn is that you need a code to use the internet. I entered it into my phone, so I can post pictures of my day to Instagram and Twitter. I refuse to do so on my computer. The temptation is too great to go check in on my social media sites. If I am unplugged from the internet, I cannot procrastinate. I am forced to ignore the outside world. At home, just turn off your internet capabilities on your computer. Disconnect yourself. When I am at home writing, I close out all internet sites and refuse to open my browser until my time allotted for writing is over.

Reward Yourself: 

This is my favorite one. Set your goal. Writing every day for thirty minutes for a week. Write 10,000 words. Edit 10 chapters. Whatever your goal set one. Make sure your goals are attainable. Then set a reward for hitting that goal. My go to reward is stopping by a book store for books. I have the amazing Book People and Half Price Books in town to choose from. Then I set an amount for books and go buy a book. When I write a rough draft I don't read at all. I find it messes with my writing voice and story goals. So my reward for finishing a rough draft is to binge read.

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