Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time: The Elusive Minx

Has it been a month already?

I tell you, lately it seems I'd have better luck finding Sasquatch over seizing free time to write or do anything else. If a writer writes, how does a writer write if the time to write can't be gotten?

Alright, enough riddles.

If you're a new parent like me or have mounting responsibilities at the day job or any other life event blocking your productivity, you know how much it can suck to reach the end of the day and have the tough choice of writing vs. sleep.

So, let's cover that first. Sleep should win nearly every time. Your work will usually suffer if you attempt to write while exhausted. Don't do it. You might get some words down, but the next day you'll be shot and will lose another day that could have otherwise been used for quality scribbling.

Next, you have to make writing a top priority. If you don't schedule it in, it won't get done. Your spouse and children may or may not be supportive of your passion for fiction but you shouldn't use that as a crutch. Be unrelenting but also realistic. If little Timmy is having his birthday party, you'll look like a real putz if you neglect him for time at the keyboard. At the same time, your family and friends should understand that you have a burning that can't be vanquished. You may have to wait until everyone goes to sleep or wake up before the sun to get your word count in. Heck, you might even have to leave the house and go find a library.

You may have to sacrifice rituals. I love to have quiet and refuse to stop until I've reached my daily goal. Get rid of your OCD and understand that you may have to do tiny sprints throughout the day. A hundred words here. Two-fifty there. You might have your cinnamon-infused mochachino go cold because you have to change a diaper or take someone to the doctor. Come back ready to attack the WIP once again.

Don't get depressed because you've missed a day. It happens. You may be so tired your eyes write you off and slam shut on their own. You may have to go out of town. Work around it if you can but don't be so hard on yourself if the writing doesn't get done. As long as you are persistent in trying to come back and get at it again, that's what counts.

Look into time management techniques and see what might work for you. Have a real heart-to-heart with the ones around you who might be zapping your time and energy. See if you can come to a compromise.

And relax. The book will be waiting for you. And like anything else, busy times will subside and you can get back to riding alongside your ninja elves or vampire tax attorneys.

Until next time (if I have any to spare),


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