Taking Your Writing Off the Back Burner: Writing in the Moment

Wednesday, October 06, 2010
One of the biggest challenges as a writer is to have time to write. Running errands, paying bills, working, parenting, etc can leave you thinking that you don’t have the time anyway. And then your writing officially goes on the backburner. Here I share some tips to take your writing off the back burner and back into production.

1. Have faith in yourself.

What works for me may not work for you, but you can find your method of madness. Believing that you can take back your writing time can be challenging with everything going on, but it only takes a little faith to get you far! And if that doesn’t work, I recommend The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates to help you along the way.

2. Track your time (and find the gaps).

When I went back to complete my last year in undergrad, a professor told me to keep track of what I did in a week. “One week has 164 hours,” he said, “Write down everything you do – eating, sleeping, grooming, entertaining, and find your time.” He told us that we had to find the time to study for class, do our homework, essentially, find time for ourselves.

What I found after doing this exercise was that I didn’t get nearly enough sleep as I should have and that I watched too much television. I also noted where I had other gaps of time that I wasn’t using effectively.

3. Carry writing materials with you.

I never forgot this lesson and have used it to help me write. Not only that but I’ve also learned that I need to find what works for me. To keep my writing on track, I carry a notebook and pen everywhere I go, have my flash drive available when I’m at home or work, and in a pinch, I take notes on my Blackberry to quickly record my ideas until I can transfer them to the notebook or flash drive. Write in the moment and it will pay off every time.

4. Get an accountability partner.

Find another writer to help keep you motivated and vice-versa. Recently, I teamed up with two other writers to do a weekly chat as well as email check-ins. Not only to we keep each other on track, but we celebrate our successes and encourage one another to keep writing.

It can be so easy to let your writing go in the wake of other responsibilities and it takes a lot of hard work to be dedicated to the craft. As a working single mom, it is incredibly hard to sit down to focus on myself for a while to do what I love to do. There are so many things I have to worry about. Writing isn’t one of them because it is a love, not a worry. It took work and planning to take my writing off the backburner and I believe you can do it, too.

Happy Writing!


Unknown said...

The two suggestions that appeal to me most for practical reasons are: tracking one's time to find out how I am using the time; also, taking writing supplies with me wherever I go. For me, a pen and piece of paper are part of my routine for going out for the day or evening. It is amazing how an idea will surface in various surroundings.

Skyraven said...

Hi Patricia,

Thanks so much for reading and I'm glad you like the suggestions. I have to agree when you write about when and where ideas come up. I've had ideas in the most random places so I keep my phone handy usually for that. lol Thanks so much for visiting and please come back again soon!


Laura Hamby said...

Great suggestions. I like especially the "carry a notebook and pen with you" (I call those my caveman computer) suggestion and the accountability partner suggestion, too.

Charlotte Rains Dixon said...

It is important to not only track time and find the gaps but take time to write in those gaps when we find them. I just wrote a blog post about this yesterday:http://www.wordstrumpet.com/2010/10/taking-time-to-write.html

writerchick said...

Hi Sky:

I particularly like the way your have targeted points that are truly applicable for all of us who are in the writing life.



Skyraven said...

Hiya Laura! I love that - caveman computer.lol Thanks so much for reading and hope to see you again soon. Glad you liked the tips. Feel free to come share some of your own. :) Take care.

Skyraven said...

Charlotte, thanks so much for stopping by and reading. I agree with you on plunging into writing during our gaps of time. It's true, we know that we waste time, we know that we have things to do and still we don't get through the "stuckness" of the moment to write. Thanks for visiting and please come back soon. I checked out your post and it was dead on. Thanks so much for sharing it here.


Skyraven said...

Hiya Writerchick,

Great to see you. I think those steps can apply to many different things; not just writing, which is awesome. As I wrote, I used that in school and got the best grades of my life ever! lol I figured it would do wonders for my writing, too. lol Please come again soon!


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