Time to Write

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Leila
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Time to Write

Post by Leila » September 24th, 2010, 5:32 pm

Hi everyone!

I hope this subject hasn't already been discussed. If so, my apologies.

I was just looking at my diary the other day, scheduling my life away, and it got me thinking about how much of one's time is actually spent writing. And how does it compare as a priority in your world?

I guess I was thinking about things like:

* Do you get to spend hour(s) every day/week/fortnight?
* Do you have a scheduled/allocated time to write? (Even if you don't achieve it?)
* Do you squeeze it inbetween everything else going on in your life?
* Any other possible combination on the planet?

Then, of course, I started wondering how people might feel if they did schedule time and didn't get to write, or if they resented not being able to sit down at will and write whenever a creative whim hit, regardless of schedules. Or if they felt frustrated if they couldn't achieve something they felt was productive if they did set themselves an allocated time, etc etc.

But maybe, if you wouldn't mind sharing, we could just start with the first question. How much time do you actually spend writing? If you feel like sharing more, great!

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Beethovenfan
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Re: Time to Write

Post by Beethovenfan » September 24th, 2010, 10:20 pm

I have tried various ways of fitting writing into my life. I have fit it inbetween a job and a family, I have allocated a specific time slot that was just mine for writing, I even took a year off from working to write full time. I found that the one that worked best for me was when I fit it in whenever I could. Writing full time was the least productive. I ended up wasting most of my day. I think it's because writing time became a precious comodity, and when I got some, I couldn't wait to write. Having too much time made me feel like I had all the time in the world, and therefore I wasted it. So, now I am back to fitting it in where I can. It works for me.
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Leila
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Re: Time to Write

Post by Leila » September 25th, 2010, 10:02 am

A whole year off to write! I take your point about not using the time productively because you had lots of it, (the human condition?) but how did you feel when you returned to your usual life schedule at the end of that year? Did taking the year off make you look at your writing differently at all?

Harper Karcz
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Re: Time to Write

Post by Harper Karcz » September 25th, 2010, 11:17 am

Beethovenfan, I'm jealous of your year's worth of writing time! I daydream about that sort of thing. But it's true about not getting much done when you feel like you have all the time in the world -- occasionally I'll take a day off work to write, and I find I spend about the same amount of time on writing as I would on a normal weekday.

Leila, I've found I have to root around in my own psychological makeup to figure out what kind of writing schedule works the best for me. I tend to instinctively rebel against rigid schedules -- even ones I make myself! -- so setting up a THIS!-is-when-you-write-every-day sort of schedule doesn't work very well for me. I tend to schedule my writing time about a day or two in advance. When I get up on Monday morning, I can look ahead to that evening and to Tuesday and mentally map out when my writing time is going to be: "Okay, so, I'll be home around 6 tonight, and after dinner and dog-walking I need to call my mom and then fold that load of laundry, and by then it'll be 9, so I can write from 9 - 11." That's the kind of schedule I can stick to.

I suppose part of my strategy in making sure I "schedule" writing time on most days is having people hold me accountable. My husband will ask me every few days to read a new scene to him. My critique group will definitely speak up if I don't have anything new to bring to our monthly meetings. And I have plenty of friends and family members who ask, "Hey, is that novel done yet?" Just the thought of being able to one day (soon) say to them, "Yes! It's finished!" keeps me going.

That said, I do get frustrated if my scheduled writing time gets kicked around by the whims of the day. Like today, for instance. Not only was I counting on having a good 3 hours of writing time, I had also signed up for a local writing workshop. But I'm stuck having to finish a report for my day job instead. I'm trying to stay positive and remind myself that even though I had to skip the workshop, I can probably squeeze in some writing time tonight if I finish the blasted report. (Probably closing my browser window should also be a part of this plan...)
Having just the vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution.

-- Stephen Sondheim

Leila
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Re: Time to Write

Post by Leila » September 25th, 2010, 5:46 pm

Harper Karcz - It sounds like you have a good thing going! Flexibility goes a long way I think. Do you mind me asking how far off arriving at your finished, beautifully polished novel you are?

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Beethovenfan
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Re: Time to Write

Post by Beethovenfan » September 25th, 2010, 10:46 pm

Having a year off from work WAS wonderful, I must say. But it didn't really help my writing all that much. I had lots of plans and goals for that year, and I didn't meet most of them. The ones I did meet, I think I could have accomplished if I'd stayed employed! That being said, I was glad for all the time because I had lots more of it for thinking. Getting story ideas was a problem for me, and having lots of time meant that I had more time to just think and develop plot.

I sure enjoyed my time off from my job! I hope you get a chance to experience it. :)
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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