How much time should you spend writing each day? That question is something that I have asked myself over and over again so often. Finally, it got to be where it wasn’t funny anymore and I needed an answer to that annoying little question.
You see, several years ago, I was only working part time and so I had several hours on my hands each day to plot, write, dream and research. I wrote my first full length novel during that time and though it still sits as a rough draft, I actually wrote it all in about two years time. (I am not including the year or so that I spent outlining and telling myself that, yes, you can do this!)
Now, I work more hours, (Do NOT want to be a starving artist here!) and my creativity suffered. Maybe I was lazy, maybe my brain was just fried from having to learn a ton of techie stuff over the course of 10 months, but my writing dropped of considerably.
And I missed it. I really and truly felt like a piece of me was missing. I missed the hours on end to write and think and plot and talk to my characters. But I just didn’t have the time anymore to really focus as much as I wanted on my writing.
I started to feel like this. Burning the candles at both ends.
Now to start off, I am a fairly methodical writer. I like to have at least a little idea of what I am sitting down to write about when I get there. But, I just didn’t have that kind of time anymore and probably won’t for a while. I found that though I do love hours on end to write and write and write, I will not always have that.
(Yes, I suppose you could lock yourself away for the weekend, turn off your phone and survive on coffee, no sleep, tea, chocolate and ideas. I haven’t tried it yet. I think my family might wonder what happened and I might wonder too. I have heard of those who have done it though. And if you absolutely must do it that way, hey, it could work!)
Some of us writers out there with stories burning in us also have to work full time jobs or several part time jobs to make ends meet. As much as we would like, our writing doesn’t pay the bills that well. But, our creativity stills needs nurturing, so how in the world can we balance it all?
I came across an article on some writing blog somewhere that said that if you are a writer (not necessarily an author per se) you will make time for writing! Even just a few minutes each day is better than nothing at all or waiting until you have that big swath of time that never comes.
That got me thinking, is an hour better a day or maybe 20 minutes grabbed at lunchtime or in the evening before bed instead? Writing a little is better than none at all, right? So, I tried it. And lo and behold, it worked! I managed to take an idea that I had for one of my children’s books and plot, research, write and edit it all by grabbing bits of time from my day! I was absolutely thrilled! And the guilt of not being able to stretch myself creatively went away.
So, if you are struggling to find time to write, let me encourage you to get creative.
Life changes. That is so true. 🙂 But, that just means we have to stretch ourselves out of our box. Grab a few minutes here or there to jot down dialogue, ideas and things to research. When you sit down to write for even just a few minutes, write like crazy and then the next day come back and write some more. Don’t worry about editing until the end (Unless, you are like me and must edit as you go to keep your jumbled thoughts in line!) Carry a notebook and a pen as sometimes it is easier to flip open a book and write instead of pecking away at your phone keyboard.
How about you? How have you found ways to grab time from your day to write?