Friday, July 10, 2009

Time management for writers

A few years ago I went to Ad Astra and heard what was probably the best writing advice for someone like me (by which I mean someone with a lot of time but also a lot of 'projects', housework, etc with which to occupy myself). That ideas was: planning your time.

The speaker showed how if you plan your week - writing down all the chores, work, your writing time and actually allotting time for other projects, you can see how much time you have and GET EVERYTHING DONE. I tried it when completing my chick lit. Up until then I had the idea that chores should be done first, while realizing that by the time my chores were done I was too tired to write and ended up reading and doing other things with the rest of my day. By scheduling chore time into the day I could see that I had the time to write - when I was most awake and excited - AND time to do chores and other things. As an 'achiever', someone who needs to check things off my to do list in order to feel like I'm accomplishing something, it made writing time something I could schedule in as a necessity rather than a hobby. It became work - and work to be done before all my other work. I also learned I didn't need to rush myself when writing. I could spend an hour or more before moving onto daily chores because THE TIME WAS THERE.

I've been trying to get back into the habit of scheduling my time again. Not only did I waste less of it by surfing the internet or watching TV, I also get a lot more writing done.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Writer's Block

I've always assumed that writer's block only referred to that time when you sit down at your computer and stare at the white page in front of you. You want to write. You just can't seem to get started.

But writer's block can also be that time when you have no motivation to write at all. When you feel that novel you want to write weighing on you. I read once that a project like a novel is so large that it takes your brain a while to accept that you're actually going to try it. Until it can accept that fact, it simply stares blankly at the screen, waiting for something to happen.

I recently went through a period of this. I think in some way it's a good thing. It clears your mind. Allows you to do other work that might distract you once you get the 'inspiration' you're looking for. I've noticed in my own writing there are times when I feel the NEED to write - when the story WANTS to be told and I have to work on that novel every day in order to get it out of my system and into the world. That's when I do my best writing. When I know where the story is going and how to get there. If I'm not in one of those 'phases' writing is a chore. It's dull and uninspired. It's boring - both to write and read. I've found it's best to wait out those 'dry' periods while my brain works itself around whatever issue with the story is causing problems and start writing when my brain clicks back into knowing what to do and how to do it.

In the mean time, there's lots of other things to keep me occupied.