Finding Time to Write

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Another question I have been asked on a number of occasions is, “How do you find time to write?”

Working full-time and being the father to two children means life gets hectic. In between work, family time, school runs, school clubs and weekend clubs, time to oneself becomes a precious commodity that can’t be squandered.

There are those who may try to tell you that you can’t be a writer if you don’t write everyday. Don’t listen to them. That’s almost as useful as the advice from the Bishop at my sister’s confirmation 30 years ago, who told the congregation that you can’t be a Christian if you don’t go to church.

I haven’t been to church since (except for weddings and funerals) but have managed to live my life in a way that would, I think, be acceptable to most Christians.

I also don’t write every day, but I am still a writer.

This is because, to me, writing is about more than just the words on the page. Writing a screenplay requires brainstorming and researching, talking, reading and cogitating as much as it does writing. Surely a big part of any writing is in the planning? This is where the 1.2.7.14 formula, that we talked about in the Starting Out post, comes into its own. It gives you a target for the week, but lets you decide when, and how, you meet that target. (You can, of course, also decide exactly what ratio of reading, writing and research suits you.)

I didn’t get any writing done today, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working out story plots in my head, or thinking about my next project. It didn’t mean I couldn’t whip my notebook out at work when no one was looking to record some thoughts about a character or scene. I may not have written and screenplay pages but I did, nevertheless, make progress.

So, when do I write?

Mornings mostly. The main part of any day is taken up with the kids and work. In the evening, after they are in bed, it’s nice to spend a bit of time with my wife. So, for me, the best time of day is the morning. I tend to get up a couple of hours early and crack on with whatever writing or research I might have planned at the time. It may only amount to an extra hour a day, but you would be surprised what you can get done in that time. Of course, mornings may not be your thing but the point is to find the best way to fit your screenplays (novels/flash fiction/poems) around your daily routine… so that they become part of your daily life, whether you manage to get pen to paper or not.

So what is the point of all this?

Well, like saying there is no one “way” to write, there is also no one “when” to write. Write what you can, when you can – find your own rhythym – and don’t beat yourself up if you go a day or two without writing.

Of course, the short answer to this would be to just check the time of this post, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun!

Do you struggle to find time to write?

Do you feel guilty if you don’t write every day?

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Posted on March 14, 2015, in Learning, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Rules and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “Do you feel guilty if you don’t write every day?”

    Yes!

    Like you, when I write depends on my work schedule, and it’s a struggle at times. Sometimes it’s early mornings, sometimes it’s noon, sometimes its late at night. When I’m lucky, it’s all three:-) What works for me is to try to carry around with me a printout of a writing project, or portion of it, so I can jot notes even when I’m away from a computer.

    Main thing is to keep chipping away at it, kind of like a sculpture of stone or wood. One thing is for sure, it won’t carve itself:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • David, that is the beauty of modern technology as well. I always have my cell phone with me and using applications like Google Docs, I can quickly bring up a document for my current screenplay and make notes when ideas strike me. So there is no excuse for not working on projects even if I can’t “write”.

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  2. Interested to read ‘The bishop’s’ view that you can’t be in the Christians if you don’t go to church…presumably that’s why they only had one top 10 hit?

    Like

  3. That’s gratitude…might as well talk to the computer…

    Like

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