FWIS: Writing Time
June 6, 2012 § 3 Comments
The ironic thing is I didn’t have time to write this post. Doh. Make sure to check out Abby and Bria in the side bar for their take on Writing Time.
Whenever a new writer asks me about making time to write, I point them to John Scalzi’s post, “Writing: Find the Time or Don’t.” It offends a lot of new writers, who go, “Yes, but,” whenever you tell them to just make the time however they need to. I’m much bitchier than Scalzi (who, also ironic, I’m meeting tonight at a signing), so my thoughts go like this, “You’re not special.” My sister used to say something along the lines of, you aren’t allowed to complain about something you can change. So if you want to write, figure out how to write instead of whining about it. Whining wastes writing time, folks.
I still think of my old writing friend Joely Sue Burkhart, who got up at 4:30AM *every day* so she could write for an hour before getting her three daughters up and going to her full-time job. That’s not a typo. Joely now has a growing collection of romance, fantasy, and erotica out with Carina and Samhain Presses.
When I was nineteen, I determined to write a novel for Nanowrimo. I was a newlywed and had just transferred colleges. I didn’t have a laptop, but the only time I had to write was between 7 and 830AM when my classes started, and the computer labs weren’t open until eight. I had a security guard let me in early so I could do my pages. I won Nanowrimo and had my first ever novel to show for it.
They say you can tell what’s important to you by what you do, what you make time for. I believe this. Because most people give a lot of lip service to doing X, Y, or Z, but put thought to what they’re actually spending their time doing. Because they don’t think of it as “making time” for whatever they’re doing. They just see what they aren’t doing and wish they could figure out how to do it. If it’s that important to you, you don’t approach it flummoxed, you have the attitude that you’re going to do it, it just requires some figuring out. This is a hair’s breadth difference in attitudes, but it’s one I find to be true.
Now that the general discussion is out of the way, what do I do personally? Sprints have become the lifeblood of my ability to write. I do three twenty-minute sprints a day when I’m drafting. I revise in five or ten page chunks as I can. I don’t beat myself up when I miss a day, because I’m only human and that way lies madness. But I do give myself a stern talking-to if I start missing multiple days. I recognize that all effort adds up, so even when I was blocked on AOG and writing only three or four hundred words a day, you know what? The book got written, three or four hundred words at a time. Writing isn’t all or nothing, where if you can’t word-vomit a book on command you’re doomed.