Setting time aside for writing is all well and good. But, what do you do when that isn’t an option? Do you just stop writing? Do you just give up what you love because life doesn’t want to let you? No. You take whatever time you can and work with it.
Write whatever you can, whenever you can.
I have a wife and a toddler and more family than I know what to do with, and a debilitating medical condition. Some people would say that I’m blessed, I don’t like to use the b word. Some would say I’m fortunate. I’m not complaining about them, I love my wife and daughter and I tolerate my family, but they throw a huge bag of hammers into my writing time.
I don’t have enough hours in a day to write, read, spend time with my wife and daughter, blog, get in a bit of Xbox(which, it turns out, is important for keeping myself creative), go to the doctor as much as I have to, and let my family see all they want of the only grandchild and I know I’m not the only one.
Lots of writers have families and jobs. Plenty of writers have medical conditions. I’m sure plenty have spouses and children and other commitments that I’m not even considering. So, what is a busy writer to do?
Conventional wisdom says to set time aside for writing, J. K. Rowling has said this is the most important part. That sounds good. It makes a lot of sense. But, it doesn’t always work in the real world.
You have to write whenever you can.
It’s important to read in order to write effectively. But, that’s just one more thing to add to your to do list. Steven King has been said to always have a book with him. The same concept can be applied to writing.
I write on a used Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro and I always have it with me, just ask my wife. Granted, I get on Facebook more often than I should but that’s how I keep in contact with my fellow writers of my Fiction Writing crew. Whenever I get a thought, I write it down to develop later.
On long car rides, when my daughter is asleep and my wife isn’t saying much, I try to draft or outline. It’s quiet and there’s really nothing else to do.
My daughter loves Disney. A good bit of my day involves sitting on the couch with Frozen or Inside Out playing in the background. She is pretty self sufficient, so I can make an attempt to draft while she runs around the living room. Though, the writing can be interrupted by sudden bouts of toddler rage.
Waiting at the doctor’s office is the worst and I spend more time there than the average senior citizen (I’m only twenty eight, by the way). I’m not a very social person so it’s not surprising for me to bury my face in my tablet. Sometimes I read ebooks but, more often, I also try to write or outline while I sitting there waiting for some lab coat to tell me he has no idea what’s wrong with me. Sorry, got off on a tangent there.
Of course, I try to get up early while my wife and daughter are asleep. I’m talking about three in the morning kind of early. On those days, I can get over a thousand words before either of them wake up and have time to play Xbox.
But, sometimes, you have to learn to keep up you’re focus with frequent and unavoidable distractions. It takes a Zen like attitude and unwavering dedication to your craft. It’s hard to keep up but, when you’re as busy as I am, is the only way.
My disability does make it more difficult to focus, so I’ve got to work around that. On a good day, I can get a thousand words. My record is two thousand. But, I see all my writer friends getting five and ten thousand words a day and it can be disheartening.
But, the key is, just write as much as you can whenever you can.
There’s always going to be someone better than you and someone worse than you. You can’t get bogged down comparing yourself to other people. If you have a busy schedule and can’t get any free time to just write, that’s ok. Write what you can when you can. If you stop judging and just let it happen, it’ll pass by before you know it and you’ll have a fully developed novel on your hands.