Posted by: H.P. Ward | September 19, 2012

On Time Management

I had planned to blog on character developement this week.  Turns out a blog on time management was more appropriate.  I ran out  missused of time to do the other.

How do we fit the writing in with life?  Some writers are lucky enough to be reclusive and/or write full time. (I am very jealous of you lot).

  Most of the blogs I’ve come across point in the other direction. One closer to my own where they are fitting the writing in on the edges. The edge of dawn or those late hours of the night.  Stretching the moments between the kids getting back from school or the lunch break at work to get a few words down on paper.
Everything might be going- not smoothly- but going.  There’s a routine, a rhythm and it works.  Words are going down on paper. The story is coming to life.

Then there’s a hiccup. A snag.  Someone gets sick. There is more work at work than was expected.  Murphy’s law. Strike that. Murphy’s lawyer shows up with a court order for all your spare time.  

Suddenly the edges are crumbling or gone entirely.  It’s nerve wracking because the writing is important, half fun and half burden depending on the day and it has to be pushed aside for the moment or the week. (Unless you are one of the lucky few who can get by on 4 hours of sleep a night. I envy you to no end.)

I had that week, well last week, and the present week. Between sick kiddos, overtime and the crazy of life there wasn’t time for writing since I write on the edge. Often I’m dangling by my fingertips trying to type. It’s depressing. Especially when most writers will tell you, “write everyday.”

So what can be done?

For me, and I’ll be honest here.  I don’t write every day. I can’t.  Here’s the bad part, sometimes I won’t write even when I’m able.  Playing hide and seek with my two year old is more important.  

That’s not to say I don’t work on the story everyday. I do.  Often I cannot get the story out of my head. On the days when I want to be actively writing and can’t, I plot.  I play with the characters in my head.  I run through a scene over and over and over from the antagonists’ pov to the side characters’ pov.  What if this scene came later on in the story? What happens if he doesn’t escape the giant cockroach?

 I might be stuck at a stand still in traffic on the way home from a work meeting but my mind isn’t bound by traffic or the speed-limit.  The same is true for lawn mowing, the house chores, making sure the kiddo doesn’t wander into the road or drown during the bath.  

The trick is to keep that notebook at hand. Not post its, not ever they’re fickle little things.  That notebook needs to be there so when inspiration hits or the pieces fall into place just so you can write that little note or dialogue blurb down.  Maybe you’ll remember it no matter what but if life is so crazy that you don’t have the time to get it down in the computer is it worth the risk to wait?? *

Sometimes I forgo the writing all together because my brain works better and faster with out having to slow it down to write if I’m not on a rough draft.  The notebook is always at hand. Ready for the gold.
Until the edges are larger and I can get my feet planted again, it’s good to have this outlet for the creativity.  It’s good for the story not to stop evolving even if every day can’t be a writing day.

*Make sure the members of your family know which memo pads are yours and not to appropriate them. Designate them by story. Above all else, keep them out of reach of the two year old.

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