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.