Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The 7 Rules Part II: Writing Time
Last week I posted my seven rules of blogging. This week I want to share my seven rules of utilizing writing time. Though you writers reading this will not have the same rules I have, I challenge you to write your own out, to stand by them, and keep them close at hand. (If you haven’t already.) A major step in the world taking your writing seriously is for you to take it seriously first. What better way than to create your own guidelines?
1. Spend every day working on a project.
It may not be actual writing, but I work on a manuscript everyday except Sundays. Whether it’s research, outlining, revising, or drafting just get in there and do it. I admire those that can write every day but I can’t—generally that comes in chunks.
2. Schedule a time to write. And hold that time sacred.
People in my life know that I’ll rarely commit to something between 9-11 am. That’s nap time and it’s sacred for writing. Also, the wee hours in the morning (4:30!) are my special creative times and I really try to make that a moment for new words. Not always possible but…
3. Embrace that writing is important for your well-being.
I’ve learned that I need to write new words for my own mental health. If I give myself the space to write, I am a lot nicer person to be around the rest of the day. Many writers recognize this about themselves so they make sure they get writing time in.
4. Create a trigger exercise.
Many writers use a trigger to let their brain know it’s time to write for awhile. Some people have a cup of coffee, do yoga poses, read a few pages out of a favorite book, listen to an inspirational song, and the list goes on. I check my email and then jump into it. Only, this isn’t working so well for me because I get distracted by the internet too easily. So I’m trying to run through a Tai chi form before I sit to write. I’ll let you know how that goes, but my advice is to find something that you will associate with moving into that creative time—something you only relate with writing words.
5. If you’re struggling with making time for writing, design a time log.
You’ll be surprised how much either a) you are writing or b) you will feel accountable simply by writing it down. Here’s what the one I use looks like. (And yeah, I try to look for the good in my writing day too!)
6. Novels have been written in fifteen minute intervals.
Sometimes the only time available is a few minutes here and there. It may not be ideal, but it can be done and I’m always surprised how much I can write in those little minutes while dinner is cooking, kids are bathing, or I’m waiting for a meeting to start.
7. Recognize your time wasters and eliminate them.
Admit what takes time away from writing, evaluate if it’s worth it, and then make changes. For me, I blink and I’ve spent an hour of my writing time on the internet. So I have to force myself to unplug the modem sometimes. (Gasp!) It’s very hard to do! Keep a notebook next to your writing materials and jot down sites you want to visit or things you want to research. After your writing session, allow yourself to look up those sites.
If you have other rules or tips on how to utilize writing time, please share! I’ll end with one of my favorite writing time quotes: “Becoming a writer means being creative enough to find the time and the place in your life for writing.’ -- Heather Sellers
On Friday I’ll post Part III: The 7 Rules of Rejection.