24 July 2012 - 1:28 pm

Mythical timing

Or, don’t wait, write now

It’s so easy to find reasons not to write. I’m not talking about excuses: I’m talking about solid, unswerving reasons. The kids need to be picked up/put down. Dinner has to be cooked (and eaten). I have to do the day job. Need to clean the bathroom (because ew). Showering regularly is important (also for ew). Sleep is essential, because staying up all night makes me crazy crazy rocking loon.

They’re all valid parts of life. And in between all of those, where does writing fit? Where can it fit?

The truth is that it’s easy to never find the time. For most of us, writing is something we do in between all the other important stuff in our lives. But if you think that way, you’ll never write!

I used to think it was too hard. I thought, ‘I’ll never be able to do it, I’m too busy’. Then I did my first NaNoWriMo and wrote over 60,000 words in a month. A single month. NaNoWriMo is all about finding the time that usually escapes you and making it happen. It’s short-term and therefore (theoretically) easier.

It works. But you know what? So does making it happen in the longer term.

It is possible to make time. If writing is in your blood, if it itches at the front of your brain, if ideas crop up at the most inopportune moments, then write. Work a wedge in between doing the dishes and going to bed, or that quiet time when the kids are asleep. Use your lunch break. Hell, some people drop the day job altogether! For me, it’s my commute to and from work when I make the magic happen, wedged into a tiny train seat with a netbook.

Clear some space – in your day, in your house, in your brain – and devote it to writing. If you look hard enough, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can do. I know I did!

Don’t let yourself procrastinate. That’s a ride that never ends! If you’ve made some time to write, stick to it. The more you let yourself slide, the easier it is to just keep going and going and never stop long enough to put words to page.

Tell everyone what you’re doing. Let them know that you’re busy, that you’re unavailable, that whatever crisis is happening will have to wait. (Unless the crisis is really a crisis, but really, how often is that true?)

Give yourself deadlines. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it does wonders for me. It’s one of the reasons that web serials work so well for me.

There’s this illusion where peace reigns all around a writer, and there is nought but the tapping of keys or the scratch of a nib. That’s bollocks. Real writers living real lives squeeze it in between the sweaty guy who talks too loud and the kid with the thump-thump music beating out of his headphones. There is no magical time: we make it work because we love it.

No more excuses. No more reasons. The right time is now, so write now.

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  1. Gabriel says:

    I resemble this post.

    So many excuses…
    … so little writing (none).

    Just think… the time I put into commenting on this article, I could have written a few lines in a story! Maybe even that time-travel-story-thing I talked about so long ago now!

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  2. Mel says:

    Very true, Gabriel!

    It’s so easy to let life get in the way. And with good reason!

    I want to read your time-travel-story-thing! It sounded interesting! (But your comments make me feel loved, too 😉 )

    July 26th, 2012 at 9:25 am