Please welcome guest blogger, Deanna Schrayer, who is sitting in with The Silent Writers Collective today to talk about writing when it seems like there’s no time. She speaks from experience. Read on.
Find the Time and the Words Are Sure to Follow
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“Raising a teenager is like trying to nail jello to a tree.”
The same could be said for those of us who work, raise a family, and write. As a mom to two sons, a wife, a full time employee, a volunteer, and owner of too many pets, there are times when I wonder how I’m supposed to find the time.
As writing has become more important to me, I’ve tucked a few tricks up my sleeve and would love to hear yours, too.
Everyone has the same amount of time; it’s what you do with it that matters. When I feel the need for a break during work, I turn my instant messaging to “I am away,” and I spend fifteen minutes writing. It doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write.
To ensure I use that break to write, I schedule a recurring appointment on my calendar; when the reminder pops up, no matter what’s going on, I stop what I’m doing, and start writing. Trust me, if I can do this, so can you. Not only will it get you writing, it’s a useful way to develop the writing habit.
The best method I’ve discovered to guarantee I accomplish my goal is to reward myself. This can work for you, too.
Each morning decide how you’re going to reward yourself. Make sure the reward is something you really want. Mine is often a bowl of ice cream. Write your reward on a Post-It and put it where you’ll see it throughout the day. This little action will plant in your brain that you must use your break to write if you want to receive that reward. Absolutely do not allow yourself the reward if you haven’t written. This will also teach you self-discipline, something all writers must possess.
If you’re constantly interrupted at work, go to a different area for your writing break. If that isn’t possible, learn how to get rid of the interrupters. For tips on how to do this tactfully, read the “Ignore the Gossips” portion of my blog post, How Do You Organize Your Day?
If writing on your work break doesn’t suit you, find the time that works best for you, and stick with it. Maybe you’re a morning person, maybe you’re a night person – it doesn’t matter. Whatever time of day you feel most alert, schedule that time, even if it’s a mere fifteen minutes, turn the world off, and write.
Do. Nothing. Else.
The importance of community
Most importantly, be sure to connect with other writers. Knowing we aren’t alone gives us the motivation to keep writing, no matter the stumbling blocks thrown our way. That’s where groups like the Silent Writers Collective comes in, groups that give us a place to share our challenges and celebrate our successes.
Another fantastic group is #Writers_Life, created by Anne Tyler Lord of Don’t Fence Me In. And let’s not forget the wonderful #FridayFlash community created by J.M. Strother of Mad Utopia.
Another inspiring site I’ve discovered is storyfix.com by author Larry Brooks. While storyfix.com isn’t a community, Larry’s posts are inspiring and educational. I’ve learned a lot by reading his blog.
Keep in mind, if you write one sentence, you have written. I’m not always blessed with happily flowing fingers during my scheduled writing time, but I am always blessed with at least one sentence. One sentence leads to another. There are 365 days in a year. 365 sentences could make for a darn good story.
Deanna’s stories and poetry have been featured in Soft Whispers Magazine as well as local literary and arts review publications. She contributes nostalgic short stories to a local newspaper. Deanna is currently writing her first novel. You can find her creative nonfiction at The Life of a Working Writer Mommy, and her fiction at The Other Side of Deanna. Deanna loves hearing from her readers, so stop on in!
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Join the SWC on Tuesdays at 9 PM Eastern and/or 9 PM Pacific (US) for the next Silent Write-In.
13 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Deanna Schrayer”
Excellent points, Deanna. I think the best thing I come away from this is that it doesn’t have to be pages and pages of writing to count!
Just one sentence IS writing, you’re right. And that leads to another and so on, and so forth.
And before you know it. . . 😀
A whole book! 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping in and for your kind words Marisa. I hope you’ll be able to join us this evening.
I agree, Marisa, and I think it’s a profound observation. Big expectations can be too overwhelming, the important thing is to write. Deanna, you so smart! I also love the idea of tucking writing in any place it will fit, whether it’s break time or my favorite, online at the grocery store. Great post, Deanna. Thanks so much for guesting! ~ Olivia
Thanks so much for hosting Olivia!
I was in line at the grocery store the other day and thought of you – there was a…shall we say “not so nice” little girl with her mom in front of me and I remembered your comment about using that time to write. For once I didn’t have a buggy, so I had my arms too full to write, but as soon as I got to the car, out came the notebook. 🙂
Great ideas, Deanna. If you had to wait for optimum conditions for writing you’d never write a thing.
I totally agree, Deanna. Great post for reminding people that they can do anything they set their mind to.
You’re right Cathy, and Laura. We can do whatever we set our minds to, and optimum conditions for writing is much like inspiration. Neither is going to come along and whop you upside the head.
Thanks for reading and we hope to talk to you this evening.
Deanna, thanks for a great post. It was chock full of really good advice.
Thanks so much for reading Anthony, and for your kind words.
As long as we keep that “Little engine that could” motto, “I can do it”, in mind, then yes, we can do it.
Great post Deanna (and Olivia, thanks for sharing her wise words with us)!
Your bowl of ice cream just gave me an idea — reward myself with time to visit my cyber friends’ blogs, forums, twitter, etc. I spend so much time there when I should be writing. So there. Guess I better walk my talk!
You continue to amaze, Ms. Deanna.
And, btw, I WAS writing last night @ 9 with you silent writers but we lost internet access.
Time with cyber friends – that is an excellent reward Linda! It sure would go a long way in helping to control said time too. 😉
Sometimes losing the internet can be a blessing in disguise. I’ve gotten some of my best writing done at such times. *please God, don’t let me lose it now*
Thanks for your kind words Linda.
Wonderful post, Deanna. I like the reward idea. I haven’t really done that. I think many of us feel like trying to write is like trying to nail jello to a tree – that is hysterical.
I think your ‘alarms and triggers’ you have set for yourself is excellent. That would go a long way in establishing habits.
Thanks for the mentions – very kind of you!
Hey Anne, I can’t take credit for the “raising a teenager….” quote, which is why I have it in quotes. I tried to find out who originally said it, but could only find it quoted in other places. If anyone knows I’d appreciate you letting me know so I can give proper credit. I’ve always loved that line.
Thank you Anne, not only for your kind words, but for all you do for us as a community. You’ve brought a lot of us together who wouldn’t have known one another otherwise, and I greatly appreciate it.