1. linden
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    linden Member

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    How do you find the time?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by linden, Dec 8, 2009.

    Hi all!

    I'm still young and new at this, and so writing is ... less than profitable ... for me. Meaning, I have a full time job that isn't writing (unfortunately). Between that and my family and taking care of my home, I don't ever seem to have a large amount of time to sit down and pull my ideas together.

    I do use the little bits of time I have to write, I have journal upon journal of notes and thoughts and bits and pieces. But you can't make a novel - or even a good story- out of bits and pieces.

    So, what I would like to know is how you find time? No matter what your lifestyle - where do you fit it in?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think perhaps one of the most difficult barriers to the writer who has already created the dynamic of having a job, life, and family is time.

    When you discover the secret, I will pay you for the knowledge. ;)
     
  3. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm self-employed and live a low-expense lifestyle. My only material treasure is my motorcycle. I only buy new clothes once every other year and don't mind living in a small flat. That way I can survive just fine by working one day a week, and spend the rest of my time on my own projects, which to me is the entire meaning of life. Why labour for someone else's dream if you can labour for your own.
     
  4. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    I'm sure finding time is a different level of challenge for all involved. Personally, I can write at work and probably accomplish more there than I do at home. In a case like yours you might have to really work to set aside time, doing so in advance and keeping with a schedule. If your family knows and can prepare for your little bit of writing time, it might not be such an inconvenience. Personally I'm not nearly disciplined enough for such a method and it may not work. But I just thought I'd brainstorm a little bit with you.
     
  5. Coldwriter
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    Coldwriter Contributing Member

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    Some say in an idealistic bubble they cant wait to
    I'm the typical college student busy and ready to graduate this spring. Almost every night it seems I am floundering in sighs about wanting to do this or that.

    I somehow established a habit of writing every day, even if for half an hour. First time in my life.

    One of the keys has been sacrificing other activities. Video games were dropped my sophomore year but now really are more like a special treat than a boy's addiction. I rarely watch TV, thankfully haven't become a Facebook addict...

    I just gave certain things up and time seemed to free itself, but the irony is, other activities rush to fill that space once it's free and writing fights for that time yet again.

    However, your family is certainly something not to give up.
     
  6. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Your quandary is not at all unusual (and you needn't be either young or new to writing to experience it;))--both the underprofitability and what feels like an inability to carve out anything more than tidbits of time, which takes the blame for an incapacity to deliver the goods. The hard truth is that no one ever "finds" time to write to completion. They either "make" the time or it doesn't happen. I'm one of those who hasn't been able to "make" the time to accomplish what I think I could if I did--that is, to get more of my work published in paying venues. And I'd really like to do that.

    My best (published) writer friend tells me that's because I'm afraid I will fail if I try it. I think he's wrong of course, because lord knows I've failed at many things I set out to do in my lifetime, and I frankly don't feel any worse for the wear. I suppose that's because I've succeeded at some. Still, his comment is something I think about every now and again, because I'd love to prove him wrong. I don't really mean that I want to prove to anyone I can get published, but that I won't curl up and die (as a writer) if I don't. I also don't really mean that I want to prove that (or anything else) to him, but that I'd like to prove it to me.

    I think it's a multi-step process (and I can only suggest the beginning ones):

    Read a lot, both what you enjoy and (if they're not the same thing) read stories that challenge you, too.

    1. Try writing to completion something that's short. A poem or a short story. Give yourself your own time-defined deadline to finalize it. Something that's really reflective and (something you believe is exceptionally good). Don't be afraid to believe in yourself. If you run into writing problems, ask questions (here or elsewhere) and see what you can learn. (Learning is an ever-unfolding, invaluable asset to being a writer--as is the courage to ask questions you think others will find stupid, as someone undoubtedly will.)

    Read a lot, both what you enjoy and (if they're not the same thing) read stories that challenge you, too.

    2. Ship it out to a venue--either a feedback venue like this workshop or to a non-paying e-zine or hardcopy pub. I'd start either place (or both) and expect both criticism and rejection as well as publication and praise (you're likely to get all-the-above, no matter the quality--which is, itself, a good writing lesson to have under your belt).

    Read a lot, both what you enjoy and (if they're not the same thing) read stories that challenge you, too.

    3. Step three is important (I think it's vital): The minute you turn loose of your work to someone else's scrutiny, begin your next writing project, and don't turn one loose till you're prepared to begin another. Don't think for a minute you'll get anywhere at all by simply waiting for the reaction to a given submission or posted story. And that's true, no matter the outcome.

    Read a lot, both what you enjoy and (if they're not the same thing) read stories that challenge you, too.

    4. Understand that anything you write is an opportunity to learn something, to hone your own skills, to test your own strengths, and to remind yourself of your weaknesses. So, if your job requires you to write anything at all, write it as if your writing eduction depends upon how well you write it. If not, remember that even an incident report (even one you stash in a drawer) can be either poorly written or an opportunity to write something exceptionally well.

    Oh, and Read a lot, both what you enjoy and (if they're not the same thing) read stories that challenge you, too.

    Well, that's it for today from my writing niche to yours!
     
  7. Carpenter_writer
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    Carpenter_writer Member

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    This is a huge question for me as well. My writing only first sparked last year at precisely this time, so the first fire kept it going for a few months. Then, with a transition from one real job to another it slowly got quenched. The cycles of life are interesting though as I now have rekindled the passion and have a new book idea I am passionately pursuing, but time is the big problem.

    For me I find a nice corner in Starbucks every Saturday morning from about 5 or six until my laptop battery dies, then I return home to a family wide awake and ready for Daddy to be involved and not stuck in front of a computer. My problem is that I sacrifice important things for research - which all too often isn't near fruitful enough to justify the time I give it.

    Find a balance, would be my suggestion. Take the little moments life gives you (bathroom breaks, lunch, etc) and take a couple of small dedicated portions a week. I am finding, and found before, that my creativity is sparked as I go about my day, not when I force it as I sit in front of a laptop. My Starbucks time serves as my time to release the ideas pent up from a week of not enough time.

    Alright, now I have to get back to my real job. I hope I shared something worth reading.
     
  8. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    I'm going to more-or-less echo Coldwriter.

    You can never really find time. It's darned elusive. You need to make it. And that always involves sacrifice. (Usually, the first sacrifice is sleep.)

    You'll need to get up 45 minutes earlier every morning to get a half-hour of writing in. But if you do that every day, you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish in a month - a season - a year.

    Another thing worth trying is swapping time with your spouse. Suggest that s/he go bowling with the guys/girls one night a week and leave the kids to you. In exchange, s/he can take the kids somewhere for a couple-three hours once a week, to gift you some uninterrupted writing time.

    If you're creative, and willing to sacrifice in other aspects of your life, you can make the time to get some writing done.
     
  9. Lady Atrox
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    Lady Atrox New Member

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    *shrugs* I usually write before I go to bed.
    Or in school, when I'm finished with a test or something. I don't write that much, I just started picking it up again :p
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in my old 'had a life' life, while being a wife and a mom of 7 kids, i fit it in whenever and wherever i could... when i got down to the last 2 and we were living on our own, i made writing a business and took on private clients, as a writing consultant, at up to $150/hr [a lot, in the early 80's!], while working on my own stuff, and running an upscale rooming house in all the parts of the huge house i'd bought as part of a divorce settlement, that we didn't need for ourselves...

    now, i can write all day, every day, if i want...
     
  11. Coldwriter
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    Coldwriter Contributing Member

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    MM: To mine as well. I appreciated that post, even though it wasn't to me. Good suggestions there! Thanks!
     
  12. roseberryse
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    roseberryse Member

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    I agree with what everyone else has said. If you don't make the time, then you probably won't have the time...unless of course you're unemployed with no children and nothing else to do.

    I have a full time job and manage to write at work, which is ok. But it's a struggle once I'm home to actually sit down and be productive when there is so much else that needs to be taken care of. I suppose that if you don't make it a priority, it isn't one...at least in my case.
     
  13. linden
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    linden Member

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    Wow, that was an overwhelming response! Thank you everyone for your input, I'm going to put your advice to the test. I'll let you know how it goes!
     
  14. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Personally, I don't find the time. My writing has been pretty stunted for at least a month now, everything else in my life seems to have cluster f***ed around me.
     
  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've been getting less and less time lately. But I try to make time here and there, even if it means going to bed ten or twenty minutes later than usual.
     

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