Sunday, September 21, 2008

How Do You Find the Time to Write?

By Tiem Wilson

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Writers write.” Or, you’ve heard the advice that you should write everyday. Well, how do you find time to do that? Take a schoolteacher, for example. After teaching three or four classes a day and then grading homework, exams, etc., where is the time to flesh out the next chapter of your thriller? Suppose you live in a large city with a sixty-minute commute to work. You are fighting traffic to and fro (struggling with road rage), finally get home and the kids are screaming for attention. After helping the kids with their homework and spending quality time with the spouse, how much character development can you get through before falling asleep atop the keyboard?

I have tried several time management tips to become more organized. At first, I set aside time in the mornings. I attempted to awake before the rest of the house to give myself some quiet, uninterrupted time at the computer. The problem with this was, I’m not a morning person. Getting out of bed that early consumed the energy I needed to focus on my writing. So, I switched to writing at night.

I waited until the kids were in bed and the house was quiet again. You can already tell how that worked out, right? After homework, after-school activities, cooking dinner, and preparing for the next workday, I was too exhausted to concentrate.

I tried writing while traveling on a couple of family vacations this summer. I figured a six-hour drive to Disney World would yield some great make-up time. Unfortunately, I suffered from motion sickness. Needless to say, a long ride in the backseat was not pleasant for me. It definitely was not the creative juices that were flowing!

My next attempt was writing during my lunch hour. This worked a little better because I was able to focus enough to flesh out maybe a page or two, at the most. A downside was the limited time frame itself. Just when I was on a roll and my fingers were flying across the keyboard, “the bell rings.” Creativity is interrupted, and it's not always easy to pick up again the next day.

So, how do I find the time to write? I use a combination of timesaving techniques. During the commute between dropping the kids off to school and pulling into a parking space at work, I sometimes record my thoughts with a mini recorder. I listen to it during a break to keep the idea fresh in my head for when I sit down during lunch. I also keep a small notebook with me at all times. I use it to jot down any brainstorming ideas as I’m waiting for the kids during their extra-curricular activities. Before, I would use the children’s reading time to fold laundry. Now, I use it to sneak in some writing. Yes, the clothes are piling higher. But, I feel better sacrificing the chores at night for a little extra writing time. Any slice of time is gobbled up in the name of fiction.

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