Tag Archives: time management

Make Time to Write

When I was an intrepid tween writer I came across a quote by Stephen King that went something like “Writers write. I meet people all the time who say they’re writers, and when I ask what they’re working on, they tell me they’ve never written a word. They’re not writers. Writers write.” Apologies to Mr. King for the paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. What this did to my consciousness as someone who really wanted to be a writer was set an external expectation on me. If I ever stopped writing, I could no longer call myself a writer. I had to be a shark, always swimming, always moving, or poof! I’d disappear in the mist of my own failure. So I wrote and wrote, terrible stories but interesting to me, and definitely definitive in setting up the foundation of my craft. Early on I was fascinated by ordinary people in near-extreme circumstances, and the relationships between them. I submitted to summer writing programs between my high school years, getting rejected a lot and accepted a couple of times, and then I absorbed as much as I could from the other writers around me.

I saw that folks each had their own rituals for writing, their habits, good and bad, and their tendencies, like being a night owl or a midday writer. They also took on the specific task of writing differently. Some wrote and rewrote through their first draft, others plowed through and got to the nitty gritty in later drafts. One woman spent months writing backstory and plotting reveals and twists before she ever got into the manuscript, and another friend jumped in and let the words take her wherever they happened to go. There were tradeoffs for every strategy of course, but taken in aggregate they led to a literature among us. That is what literature should do—provide an avenue for people who need to tell a story of importance to someone else. If the process of writing is varied, so is the access to writing. So it behooves us who care about the characters in our heads to open a space for the writing to happen. Here are a few of my ideas, humbly offered with no expectations for agreement. Read More…

Writing Under Water

IBM Selectrix typewriterThe advice is to write every day, if you’re calling yourself a writer, that is. Every day. It’s a model of dependency because hey, writers love their stereotypes about being alcoholic. Or it’s a model about routines, the creative equivalent of tooth brushing. No, no, it’s about opening a space so the words can flow . . . into the drainage ditch of bad ideas. Okay, wait. Telling people to write every day is about injecting seriousness into what would otherwise be a simple hobby or a flirtation that never gets off the ground. Certainly there are a lot of people out there who talk about someday writing a book, but the last time they sat down to type it was on a brand new IBM Selectrix typewriter.

Stephen King, prolific author that he is, put it simply in the last millennium: writers write. Writers don’t talk about writing and not write. They write. (Apologies to Mr. King for my awful paraphrasing.) Read More…

Time Management for the Weary Writer

typewriter keysIt’s been a little less than a year since I wrote a novel at the sugar-dusted tables of Top Pot Doughnuts in Seattle—the Capitol Hill location, not the one downtown that President Obama visited. They could make a mocha like nobody’s business. And while I may have not eaten the most nutritious breakfast on those days, I had something significant going for me: time.

Not so anymore. A close-to-full-time job and a little baby at home have taken a hungry chunk of my schedule, munching and drooling and leaving only a few crumbs behind for me. What’s left is some clunky time between work and supper, after dinner time that usually coincides with Emile’s daily fussy spell, late night, and before work time, only accessible via an annoying alarm clock. At 5:30AM I’m supposed to be funny?

In other words, it ain’t pretty. Read More…

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