Saturday, March 11, 2017

Set A Time To Write

          If you are a part-time writer, because you work fulltime at a J.O.B, you may have to write when you can. A Little here and a little there, and it can be daunting, frightening, or even intimidating to deal with the pressure of taking the time to write. Well, it is not that difficult to set aside some time. It does need to be done, however. Just bite the bullet and pick a time. Here are a few things to think about that may help you along this part of your journey. You are not the only writer that has had to deal with finding time to write.


Make it a time when there are the least amount of distractions floating around.
  • The dog will not need to be walked during this time. 
  • The kids will be gone or asleep. during this time.
  • You can turn off the phone and TV and other electronic devices so you can have this time for yourself. ( I like a little music going so my iTunes is playing.............quietly)
  • Once you set the time, make an announcement. Make sure all family members know to not interrupt your writing time. (unless someone is bleeding to death or choking.... you know, the stuff that is more important than writing.) 


Once you have the time set, morning noon, afternoon, think about where you will be writing.
  • Do you have an office? 
  • The kitchen table, or dining room table. Think about the distraction factor. If you plan on writing at the dining room table, will there be any kids there doing their homework as well? Keep that in mind. 
  • In the bedroom (with the door closed and a "Do Not Disturb" sign hanging on the door.) 
  • Fast food restaurants. Many a morning I have spent at a local fast food franchise with wifi working on a chapter or two. As long as you order something, it has been my experience that most places won't mind so much if you are there a while. Just don't overstay your welcome. 
  • At the campus library, if you are a student. 
  • The student center of your religious affiliation.
          The ideas on locations can go on and on. The point is, once you decide on a location, to keep the distractions down to a minimum, if not zero.


          I'm not talking about the time WHEN you plan on writing, but the amount of time you will actually be writing. How long do you plan on writing? I work, on average, 8-5. When I set aside some time, I try as hard as I can to not think about work. I try to get in at least an hour a night. Sometimes, and more often than not, I get a few hours in so in the end it all works out. So, my WHEN varies, but is still the same... "After Work" I work from home so this is convenient. I can close down the work stuff and open my outline and work for a couple of hours.

          Word Count

          Maybe you plan on writing five hundred words, a thousand words at a time. That could take a half hour, or it may take three. Come up with a plan and then work the plan. I know that sounds a bit cliche-ish, but it works. Plan on an hour, or plan on two thousand words. Bottom line is to try and stick to it. If you find that you are in "The Zone" and you feel you need to go further, then by all means go for it. This is a plan and plans change so write as much as you want to or need to.

          I find the biggest distraction, not mentioned above, is myself. So while deciding to set the specific amount of time or the number of words you wish to write, remember two rules.
  • During this time you don't actually have to write... 
  • But you can't do anything but write...
          What I mean is that during this time, if you do anything, the activity must be writing.
          No research, no phone calling, no making your lunch for tomorrow. You must only write. You don't have to write, but you can't do anything else. You can, if you are at a blank spot, just sit there for the hour, or pace the room thinking, but you can't do anything else.

          No vacuuming your office or organizing your files. You can however, work on your blog. That is what I am doing now. I am at a point in my book outline where I feel the story ran stale, so I am taking a break from my book and am working on this article for my blog. I am not writing in my book, but I am writing. See?

Writer's Block

          I am not a fan of this term, because I don't personally believe in it. I don't believe a writer is ever truly, actually, hopelessly, without a doubt blocked and has nothing to write. If you are in a dead zone, one trick I found that works for me is to write.

          That's right, write away writer's block. Allow me to back up a bit here...
Writing is my passion. I don't care if I am writing for my blog, working on my latest mystery, or polishing up a children's book, I enjoy the writing process. Which is odd because I didn't do so well in English class and I sure didn't enjoy writing the essay assignments I was given.

          But, now, I love to write. And, like every writer out there, I too experience writer's block. If James Patterson admits to hitting a wall from time to time, I think it is okay to admit it as well.

          It's not easy to get into a groove, but once I do, its great. Characters are working together, the scenes flow and the conflict is great and the resolutions are hard to see, which is preferable. I don't want an easy-way-out solution, I like solutions that are not all that obvious and have a twist to them. The solution is "X" but it reveals something else, something new, something unexpected.

          I don't like to call it writer's "BLOCK" because I am not really blocked, I just hit some dead air, a lull in the story-line, an air pocket, if you will. The writing just went flat for this specific scene. I can still write, just not on this specific scene. I have my own method to get over the block, or to get back on track and into the groove, but I was curious what others do, so, off to Google I went. I found some things that other writers do to get out of the lull, the rut, get around the obstacle.

Some writers:

  • Get physical: ride a bike, take a walk, do something physical –exorcise, hunt down the pesky squirrel in the back yard, build a barge and launch it in the nearest lake.
  • Change of Scenery: Taking a walk as mentioned above will give you a change of scenery. Like me, for instance—I work from home so the four walls in my basement tend to close in on me so every other morning or so I head to the nearest Mickey D's for some Vitamin C (“C” is for coffee). The drive is only about ten minutes, so this is a quick escape.
  • Put it away till the next day and start over: I have done this before but it is not my favorite way to get past the blocked words. If I am not careful, I put it away and get distracted by some other project and before you know it, six months have flown by.
  • Some even take a nap: I can't even take a nap on Sunday afternoon after church. There is too much to do and –I don’t know about you… but I only get 24 hours in a day.

          However, as I stated in the two rules above, I can't do anything BUT write so that is just what I do...

          Since I write on my laptop, and everything is electronic these days, I simply open a Notepad file and start typing. Blah Blah, or what ever...

          Writing, no matter how plain, dull, bland, senseless it is, gets me going again. For me, when I am writing about everything or nothing in general is like priming the water pump to get the water flowing again. For me, writing gets me writing again.

          Another option is to write  "TBDL" (To Be Decided Later) and move on to another area of your outline or book. In one scene, I may be thinking about how to play out a fight scene, so I write, "FIGHT SCENE" and then move on to something else and come back to the fight scene and work it out.


          Now, what ties all this together is commitment. Commitment from your friends and family to give you some privacy, quiet time, a time out or whatever you decide to call it and .....let you write. Also, you need to commit yourself. Commit to start at the designated hour, go to your writing place and do nothing but write.

Good luck with your journey. I hope this is helpful.