I used to call myself a writer and do very little writing.
I was always looking for those long stretches of time when I could dedicate hours to writing, just lose myself in words, and work until the words swam on the page. Of course, those times were few and far between. Perhaps if I was a recluse, or an anchoress or, you know, in jail, I’d have that kind of time often.
But in real life, you have to make meals, and go out with friends, work a day job, look after the kids, practice your Taekwondo*, call your mother, and do the laundry. There aren’t often times when you can just write for hours without distractions.**
So I needed another plan, since waiting for free time and buying writing books/notebooks/new pens wasn’t getting any writing done. That’s when I decided to actually DO what some of the books suggested.
So now, at a minimum, I write for 10 minutes a day. I don’t count the writing I do for business clients or for the newspaper (unless I’m stuck and I need to create momentum by getting SOMETHING, ANYTHING done on those projects), I usually just count fiction. My fiction is the hardest to get to because it doesn’t pay anything yet *** so that’s the one I need the most prompting for – even though I enjoy writing it.
So, I have checklist for the month and every day I have to punch in 10 minutes of writing. And that’s 10 minutes of constant writing, not 10 minutes of staring at the screen. I open a blank page and start typing whatever comes into my head. Most of the time it forms something coherent, but lots of times it is just a long string of ideas.
And sometimes, sometimes it actually starts a real, live story. And then I come back to that same story for 10 minutes the next day, and the next until it is finished.
10 minutes is no time. You’ve probably already spent 10 minutes surfing the internet today (I know I did), why not spend it writing?
So, how long do you write? How do you fit writing into your life?
*Or that might be just me. :)
**Unless you are a full time writer and writing IS your day job but I’ll bet it is still hard to settle down to it. Lots of email to read, and sites to surf, and re-reading of stuff you’ve already written.
***Hopeful optimism right there.