Making Time to Write

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Rebecca Kiel
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Making Time to Write

Post by Rebecca Kiel » May 28th, 2011, 5:31 pm

It's 9:04 PM. My daughter, who could not sleep, just went to bed. I have four baskets of clean laundry to put away, bills to pay, and a pile of dishes in the sink. I need to write. I want to write. But after a day of juggling the lives of four family members – play dates, lessons, errands, work - and a repairman informing me we will not be able to use our sole shower for over a week, all I want to do is drop into bed and sleep.

Sound familiar?

Many experts say the same thing: writers that make it have disciplined writing schedules. Yet despite all desire to have a predictable writing rhythm, it doesn't always work out that way.

How do you do it?

Do you keep a regular writing schedule?

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sbs_mjc1
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by sbs_mjc1 » May 28th, 2011, 6:28 pm

I hear you-- no kids, but a postgrad thesis (which doesn't go to bed ever, but it does eat less). What I do is block out small chunks of time every day for writing, plus I think about writing (and sometimes take notes) throughout the day (like if I'm on the bus, etc) so that when my 25 minutes or so rolls around I'm ready to write.
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by Aimée » May 29th, 2011, 4:52 pm

I find it difficult to keep a writing schedule, mostly because I don't have the motivation. I'm the type of person who writes in bursts, 5000 words one day, then a week without writing a word. I wish I had the determination to write every day.

I feel the most inspired in the middle of the night. This is unfortunate because I find it hard to fall asleep with all the ideas nagging at me, so I usually don't get much. The good thing about it though, is that I don't have anything scheduled or anything important to get done at 11 at night. :)

I think most writers write at the crack of dawn when they get up, before the kids are up. Less interruption, and your brain is nice and fresh. I'm not a morning person though, so that doesn't work for me. :)

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Rebecca Kiel
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by Rebecca Kiel » May 29th, 2011, 7:30 pm

Aimee, I too get ideas at night. Just as I am settling in, an idea will come to me. Then i jump out of bed, jot it down, and climb back in. Some night I reach for a pen four or five times before I am able to sleep. This is actually how my MS got started!

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wordranger
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by wordranger » May 30th, 2011, 12:25 am

I'm a mother of three boys. I feel your pain. Dinner, Laundry, Soccer Practice, Dishes, The list goes on... Plus a full time job. Oh, yeah, and that cute guy over there is my husband. I like him, too. When I got really serious about writing I hunkered down and did it in the only free time I really had... my lunch break at work.

What I do is formulate my ideas during my commute to and from work. (Which is 45 minutes to an hour, so I have plenty of time to think and prepare) I outline on the way home, and I "write" on the way in. Then, it's kind on "on hiatus" until lunch break when it just breaks free and leaps from my fingers.

If I try to do anything at home, unless it's at 12:30 at night on a weekend (like right now) it's basically pointless. My entire novel was written on my lunch breaks. It took longer than it did before I had kids, but at least it's getting done.
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by jazzlovesnoodles » May 30th, 2011, 3:51 pm

The difficult thing is that without a real deadline - self-imposed ones can easily be ignored - it can be difficult to make time for writing when something else comes up that can't be sidelined or even that just seems more appealing at that moment. I'm trying to force myself to set deadlines I can reach easily so that I will eventually finish my manuscript without having to take one what seems like a huge task all at once.

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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by knight_tour » May 31st, 2011, 6:42 am

I spend most of my time simply thinking about the novel's next chapter or two. I may take weeks sometimes just to ponder it and wait for great ideas to hit. Then when I feel I have the chapter really nailed, I can sit down and quickly bang it out, even if I don't have much free time. My actual writing time is quite limited.

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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by rhrussellwriter » May 31st, 2011, 10:32 am

With young kids at home and so much unpredictability in my life—things that are beyond my control—a daily writing routine doesn't work for me. Instead, I set aside large blocks of time for a writing marathon. I arrange for the kids to spend the day or even just the evening with Dad or Grandma or their friends. I look forward to those scheduled times and plan and write little bits in preparation. I can put out 5-15 K of a first draft in a full day when I'm uninterrupted, and I feel great about it afterward. Then I enjoy the time to recharge and look forward to the next writing burst.

Hope that gives you some ideas!

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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by hektorkarl » May 31st, 2011, 11:15 am

It's interesting how much people's methods can differ.

No matter how much (even good) advice we get, it seems to always require a lot of trial-and-error to arrive at something that works.

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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by Cookie » May 31st, 2011, 11:34 am

I think about my book all day long, but I do the best writing in the morning. Or should I say, I have the best ideas in the morning. I usually work on it throughout the day. But I'm single and have no kids, so that works for me at the moment.

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medussa74
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by medussa74 » May 31st, 2011, 3:24 pm

I usually manage to get about an hour a day in. Unfortunately, I haven't quite gotten the discipline of writing as soon as I hit the keyboard, so I don't usually get as much done as I like. However, when I did NANOWRIMO, practically my entire word count was created during my lunch break. Not quite sure why that doesn't quite work out for me the rest of the time. Hmmm.

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Holly
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by Holly » May 31st, 2011, 3:39 pm

I hear you! It's tough with a family, a job, pets, errands...

What works for me:

(1) Schedule writing time on the family calendar just like any other activity. When you're serious about writing, you'll make the time. What would you do if you had homework for a college class? You have to ask for your family's cooperation.

(2) Connect to other writers. Find a writing partner or two or three. Set deadlines and turn in your work like homework. Join a writing group or form one if you can't find one that already exists.

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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by sierramcconnell » May 31st, 2011, 5:15 pm

NaNoWriMo. Throw out an entire novel then, and it's much easier to edit it once you have the block of stuff to work from. So long as the people around you understand that you devote all your time to them for the rest of the year, they're going to have to pick up and help for that one month.

Of course, I've been doing chores since I was old enough to remember. I did laundry. I cleaned. I straightened. And I even cooked a little. So I really don't understand how kids these days /don't/ help. And no, I didn't get paid for it. I got no allowance. I got experience. It's good for them to bust those buns a little.
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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by oldhousejunkie » May 31st, 2011, 6:08 pm

I didn't have schedule until recently. Which is probably why it took me 10 years to complete my novel. Recently, I started blocking off the hour before I go to bed as my writing/editing/researching time. If I'm not feeling creative I research or edit. And on the days I'm more energized, I take advantage of it and try to write more than usual.

I can't imagine having kids and trying to balance the time out. I guess that thought can be a good silencer to my biological clock. It's very loud, after all...

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Re: Making Time to Write

Post by Claudie » May 31st, 2011, 10:08 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:NaNoWriMo. Throw out an entire novel then, and it's much easier to edit it once you have the block of stuff to work from. So long as the people around you understand that you devote all your time to them for the rest of the year, they're going to have to pick up and help for that one month.
YES.

Out of NaNo I worm time whenever I can. Between classes. After work. Late at night. I don't have a regular schedule, but I try to maintain some constant progress. When I stall, I lose enthusiasm and the drive to make time.
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