Sounds like a good habit. In order to have a successful writing career, one must purposely develop habits to make this happen. In talking with aspiring writers, a common thread emerges in their comments as to why they don’t.
Of these, two consistent obstacles derail their efforts for a writing career—and I’ve experienced these in my own life.
Ø I can’t find the time to write.
Believe me, I feel your angst. I used to say this, too, until I realized it was a ridiculous lie I told myself for various reasons. Lack of confidence, lack of support, overcommitted to other things, working, and being a mother and wife. The list was endless. Some were legitimate excuses at times, but most of the time that’s exactly what they were—excuses.
Even for published writers, distractions like platform building, mentoring, or writer’s block can devour your time. This is when it’s most important to be deliberate in setting daily goals, whether it’s word count, blocking time, or finishing a chapter for your latest book manuscript.
While platform building is vital for a writer’s success, how much time do you waste on social media? What begins as a way to connect with readers can also become a bad habit and hinder a writer’s discipline to accomplish goals. It becomes an excuse when we don’t feel like writing.
It usually goes something like this for me. My characters won’t cooperate or my mind is not clear on how to proceed, so I decide to check my Twitter account. After all, maybe my followers list needs tweaking. I have to keep an eye on that. Wonder what’s happening on Facebook? Maybe I should check that while I’m taking a break. It wouldn’t hurt to respond to a few emails, as well.
The problem is when we’re playing on Twitter or Facebook, our characters are, too. Our readers aren’t ever going to discover if Lassie rescues Timmy from the well or Harry escapes the clutches of Lord Voldemort or whatever our characters are supposed to be doing, if we don’t get on with the writing.
I guard against this during creative droughts by forcing myself to put words on the screen and create scenes and dialogue, not worrying about how it sounds or reads. Later, I re-read and tweak, and usually to my surprise, it’s not as awful as I first believed. But even if most of what I wrote gets cut or revised, the discipline of forcing words onto the page develops the habit.
Becoming a successful writer takes consistent work. This only comes through diligence in time management.
Ø I don’t have my own space to be creative.
We used to have one computer in our home. Given the fact that I also run a medical transcription service, it seemed someone was always standing in line to use the computer. Kind of hard to be creative under those circumstances. J Still, I snatched a few minutes here and there to work on short stories and articles. I also went to the library where quiet space is plentiful.
Consider this for a moment. Writing can be done away from the computer. Sometimes I do my best plotting when I’m exercising, taking a shower, or enjoying a long walk.
During the time my family of four shared a computer, I also used a notebook to write down ideas or plot points. I’d craft opening paragraphs or queries for non-fiction articles. A designated “physical space” is not necessary to do this, as much as finding a place to consistently be alone and write.
Now I write on a laptop at my kitchen table. From my vantage point, I can look through my sunroom windows to the outdoors. I’ve found this to be more creative than sitting at my desk in the office/guest room where I transcribe medical reports. The kitchen table is not an ideal situation for some families, but it works for us.
I found another Stephen King video to share this week. J He and author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, discuss the habits they’ve developed in regards to writing space and setting in order to be creative.
Now, I want to hear from you. How do you find time and create space to write?