I started to explain that I write in short bursts, squeezing it in . . . and then it hit me. I used to write around nap time and snack time and play time. I was really good at flying through a page and getting it down fast. Sometimes I still work that way, but not most of the time.
For 9 months out of the year, I know I am going to have from 7 am until 3 pm free, Monday through Friday. I’m a big block of time writer and I didn’t even realize it. Yeah, I can be really observant that way.
How do you write?
Some people have full time jobs. This means that they have to squeeze writing time in wherever they can. Some get up early to write. I have never been one of these people because I am not a morning person. One of my friends, a school counselor, wrote her first novel 15 minutes at a time on her lunch breaks sitting in her car.
But not everyone can write in these short bursts. They need longer blocks of time. This might mean sending the kids out in the yard with your husband. Or, you could schedule a writing weekend. One of my friends rents a cabin once a year. That way she has not only hours at a time but days.
The thing that I’ve found most important, even when I don’t realize that I’m doing it, is to be flexible. When my father was in the hospital, my several hours a day disappeared. I wrote standing up in the ER, in his hospital room and waiting for him to get out of X-ray. Not only was I writing in short bursts, I had to be mobile.
What worked for you last month might not work this month but that’s okay. Find the solution that works for you right now. Then when things change, come up with a new one. We all do it even if we aren’t paying attention at the time.
Sue is the instructor for our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins on January 11, 2016.