Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#ISWG: Writing Time? What's That? #IamWriting


One of the greatest threats to an inspiring writer is trying to find the time to get the words out of your head and onto the page. There's all kinds of distractions around us. Kids, job, errands, family, school, etc. You name it. It's probably there. Holidays and summer vacation are the worst times for most writers. You want to spend time with your family but you have that manuscript in your head. Your characters won't leave you alone. You think about the plot, the characters, the setting and you do so much of it people start complaining your not spending enough time in reality.


It's really hard for people who aren't writers to understand the drive we have to write an entire book. But it is possible to be a writer and still have a life. I started my writing career in 2008. I wrote 700 pages in two months. But it took a toll. I spend more time writing than I did with my husband. I felt like I just had to get the story out. While I ended up with a great novel and the beginnings of several sequels I had sacrificed time with my family. It didn't break my marriage.  I struggled with the time management thing early on in my writing career. In 2012, I discovered NaNoWriMo while working on my MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. It was a GODSEND!

NaNoWriMo taught me how to budget my writing time with my personal life. It helped me to establish a writing routine. My daily goal is to write a chapter or two per day on my current WIP. That roughly gives me 1300 words per day. I can easily complete a first draft within a couple of months. I aim for 50,000 words the first month and 50,000 words the following month. Sometimes, I'll go back into my previously written chapters and edit them. Once my first draft is completed I send forward to my editor and work on my next writing project while she's editing.

I constantly have writing projects. I have an organizer in my room that has my next writing projects listed in order of when I want to write them. The titles are written on erasable sentence strips. Once a writing project is completed I just remove the title, move the other up, erase the sentence strip and add another project to the bottom of the list.

If I have a story idea I just writing down in a notebook and keep it for later. Sometimes, I'll get spin off story ideas while I'm writing. I don't let my characters change my writing topic. I just keep moving forward after I write the idea down. That's how I came up with Bailey's Revenge. Bailey's Revenge is actually a spin off from my first book, Calico. It tells the story of Calico's grandmother in Ireland.

Organization is key to having a meaningful writing time. If you find a quiet place to write, establish and maintain a writing routine, plus keep organized you won't have a problem chasing after your writing dreams.

14 comments:

  1. I began my first novel when my sons were small. Now they're all in their 40s. It's difficult being a woman, a mother, and a writer. But you're so right, being organized is what it's all about. That and determination and stubbornness. You're on the right track, Allison!

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    1. Thank you, Joylene. It's hard to do. But with determination anyone can do it.

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  2. My struggle comes from having a disabled husband, a five year old with ADHD, and a 7 year old, as well as a full time job. Add in housework (my husband does do the dishes and laundry) and I end up with about two hours of free time to write before collapsing in bed. Then it all starts again at 6am the next day.

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    1. That's rough. My husband is legally blind. I feel ya.

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  3. I try to be organized and while I'm generally pretty consistent with my writing schedule, life tends to slow me down considerably. I envy you and your dynamic project list - I have a similar list, but mine doesn't move very much...

    IWSG Post June

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    1. It can be hard sometimes to work off my list. I've had moments in my writing career where I've periodically stopped writing. The important thing is to never give up. Just get right back on that horse.

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  4. I think I made it through NaNo once! Now I can't really participate because I have to write three chapters and send it to my agent and see if my publisher is interested. If she is, three chapters are already written, so I wouldn't qualify.

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    1. That's completely understandable. Congrats on the three chapters.

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  5. That's some writing routine! Good for you!

    Keep moving forward.
    Heather M. Gardner
    IWSG Co-Host

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  6. Organization can definitely help. It also helps to understand that you don't need hours to get writing done, so you snatch any small writing time that may fall in your lap. That one's a hard one for me, because if I see I only have an hour or less, I tend to avoid sitting down to write, because it doesn't sound like enough time.

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    1. I can understand that. If you let that thought linger, though, you'll never get any writing done. You can do a lot in 30 minutes to an hour of writing.

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  7. Being organized and balanced is important. Writing does bite into time with other things and we have to make sure those other things aren't more important. There is always something dumb we can ditch instead.
    Welcome to the IWSG!

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    1. Thanks. I participated before but slacked off because of work, school and other life demands. I'm glad I'm back!

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