Sunday, May 6, 2012

Finding Time to Write

I have so many people tell that they don't have time to write or that there just aren't enough hours in the day.  I personally I have said it a million times, yet I told myself that I am committed to creating my series and want to see it through.  So how can you find time to write with a job, husband, kids and dogs?  You steal every spare moment that you can. 

This past week has been very difficult on the writing front.  My husband was away for the week so I had full time kid duty.  I wasn't focus on writing at all.  Dinners had to be made, dogs had to be walked and even a birthday party had to be planned.  I technically didn't write a single word, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't writing.

When you have an idea in your head that you feel is strong enough to put down on paper, it comes from your mind, or surroundings or people you know.  It's important to look around your busy life and see what inspiration you can get from it.  Did the kids say or do something funny?  Did the dogs create such havoc that it inspired a funny moment?  So often I hear phrases from friends and co-worker that would fit into different places within my story, even if it's something silly.  One word or phrase can open a door or lead you down a path that you might never have thought of.  My person fav so far would be from my son, "Eww...pit sweat".  It was in reference to a bad guy who could create a gush of water that could drown an entire room.  Given that my character is already sarcastic and in a verbal battle with the creature, it's well placed.  Of course the way my son said it was beyond perfect.  He has excellent comedic timing.

When I don't know what to write and I'm stuck, I let my mind wander.  I take whatever quiet time I can get and use it to my advantage.  When I lay down to go to sleep, I will think of a character and let my mind wander and see what happens.  So many of my ideas have come from just falling asleep or just waking up.  It's that time and place where dreams are starting to take over and allow for fascinating things to happen.  I also take advantage of the quiet in the bathroom.  As odd as it may seem I can stare at the blank white walls, brush my teeth and forget about who is punching who in the next room or what Stinkeroo has in his mouth.  Sometimes I only need a few minutes of peace to come up with a simple idea and expand upon.  Instead of singing in the shower I have whole conversations as my characters.  I come up with their humorous or their serious moments.  On more than one occasion I have made myself cry in the shower because I came up with an emotional speech.  You remember to get out of the shower and back into the real world before you are late for school or work.

Another place to find time to write outside while on a long walk with the dog.  I have two different kinds of dogs, the stroller who stops and pees on every plant and the speed walker that just keeps going.  Both of them can get the job done.  The stroller allows me to look at the trees and the sky and feel the warm breeze and enjoy the moment.  I have conversations, come up with landscapes, character motivation, whatever.  The speed walker gets me going and I can think of action moments or battle scenes.  The dogs can't talk back and don't understand, so who cares what I say to them.  They also don't keep asking what time it is or if they can watch TV or who invented the prison system...yes Thing 1 ask me that when he was 4.  So next time, volunteer to take the dog for a walk and take the long route.  Talk until you are blue in the face and it will amaze you to see what you have accomplished.  Personally I figured out a boat load about Book 2 one day and I was grateful.  Oh, but don't walk them together otherwise you will only get a workout and nothing written.

My best and favorite place to come up with ideas would be the car.  Now, I admit, I do sing in the car.  I will sing just about anything.  A friend once told me she puts on a performance in the car.  I do the same thing, when I just want to forget about everything.  When I want to work on a writing problem, I turn down the radio, look at the open landscape and let my mind play.  It was on my way to work the other morning that I came up with the battle sequence for Book 6.  I have characters and a vague plot, but I wasn't sure what was really going to happen.  Thankfully it came to me in full color and surround sound even though I started off with the simple thought of, what do the vampires do?  Why were they created?  Then bam, I had the answer.  Just make sure you are carefully watching the guy who is took busy texting in the next car over to drive straight and stay in his lane.

While it does take time to type everything out and edit and reedit, I will steal any precious minutes that I can.  So many mornings I have sat in the parking lot outside of work and typed out basic thoughts on my smartphone and emailed them to myself.  I have sat during the kids activities with my iPad and jotted down notes or phrases or even a few words so that I can turn them into something later.  It's important to look up and root for the kids and let them know that you saw the goal that they just made.

As much as we all want to publish our stories and our ideas, writing doesn't have to be a 9-5 job.  Given that I don't have deadlines, aside from the ones I impose on myself, I have the freedom to write when it comes to me and make time when I have enough to form something cohesive.  When I am ready to bust my butt and really write, I make the time.  The bottom line is, if you want something badly enough, you make the time for it.  Sure I typically write after the kids go to bed for a few hours before I pass out and I will dedicate most of my Sunday to tackling my project full force, yet I try not to let it get me down when I do have to join the real world and leave my writing for the day or the week.  I know that even if I don't get a single word written, my mind is still doing the work and I give it every opportunity to so.

No comments: