Friday, June 7, 2013

Writing when there is NO time to write

I’ve talked a bit on Twitter about my busy life and how I find time to write. I’ve decided to start blogging about writing when there is no time to write. Sound fun? 

First, let me explain why I consider myself “busy.”  

Right now I am the most exhausted I have ever been in my life. I have a five year old and a five month old. I have a full time day job. And I write. In addition to all of that, I had a fair of amount of complications with my 5 month old, and to avoid getting into the details, I will just say that I can no longer have children.  

In the five months since I had my daughter and the two surgeries that occurred just after, I have written nearly 100,000 words. I have completed the second book in my series, HOVER. I have nearly completed a separate project, currently titled BROKEN WINTER. And I have begun another project that I will call YA historical sci-fi (it’s a mouthful, right?). 

Again, I do not claim to be the busiest, but I think we can all agree that is a fair amount of words for so much on my plate. So, how did I do this? I’ll tell you.  

  1. COMMIT RIGHT NOW TO DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY. There are days that something involves research. There are days that something involves plotting or character sketches. Whatever that something is, commit to it every day until you type THE END.
  2. WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO WRITE, WRITE. I cannot possibly write at the same time every day. My days are too hectic for that. But when I do sit down to write, even if I only have ten minutes, I do nothing else. I think about nothing else. I focus all of my energy for that small amount of time on writing. I tend to write 300-500 words per 15-minute period. So if I have four 15-minute slots in my day, then I’ve written 2,000 words. Not bad!
  3. DROP THE GUILT. For a long time I refused to write when my kids were awake. I felt like if they were around, they needed my undivided attention all the time. That’s ridiculous. Should you write for an hour while your kid sits in front of the TV? Hell no. But slipping in 10 minutes while he/she is having breakfast? No problem. Typing out 100 words on your phone while your little one is going potty and refuses to let you be there because she needs “privacy?” Absolutely! Drop the guilt. When you are playing with your kids, give them your full attention. They deserve that! But never feel guilty for writing in those slivers of time when they are doing other things. It’s okay. You are still a good parent. I promise.
  4. NEVER STOP AT THE END OF A CHAPTER OR SCENE. Begin the next scene, even if it is only a line or a few bullet points detailing what will happen next. This will save you loads of time.
  5. DON'T SWEAT THE WORDS. If it helps you to reread what you wrote before and edit as you go, fine. But if it slows you down and you spend those precious 15 minutes analyzing whether it’s okay to use “was” twice in one paragraph, then please for your sanity keep moving forward. You can fix it later. 
Now, I promise—well I half promise—to try to come here a few times a week with ways I found time to write, how many words I cranked out, and general support. I hope you’ll join me!  

Melissa J