I received a tweet from a reader and I was so excited! I love questions about process. If you ever have one, please don't hesitate to ask! I remember being insatiably curious about this business before I was published. So here goes--I'm going to answer this question to the best of my ability.
My only issue is that "typical" isn't really in my vocabulary. I have always referred to myself as consistently inconsistent, rarely doing the same thing two days in a row.
That said, I'm going to give it a go.
Most mornings, I start slow. Coffee, breakfast, and it is mostly done from the couch. I function best when I start quietly, reading the Bible or a book. I feel like I lose control and develop temporary ADHD if I start with checking the email/messages on my phone or scrolling through social media.
I do work part-time a few days a week at a family business. If I need to report there, this is when I do that. If not, I get going on the writing.
In direct answer to the screenshot of the tweet above, it has been my experience that writers have no more free time than anyone else. Bummer right? Yes, I did not stumble upon a Time Freeze Gadget when I signed my contract with Grand Central Publishing. In fact, I often feel as if I have LESS time as a writer. Once the words and ideas start (even this blog) it is nothing to look up and notice two, three, or more hours have slipped past.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, granted we don't have the same things that fill those hours. Some people have children, some don't, some people work full-time, some people care for their elderly parents or grandparents.
We are all capable of prioritizing to a certain extent. Maybe not every single day can be corralled into a tidy package of productivity, but many of your hours can be organized.
Which brings me to a question you may have... How do you fit writing into a busy life? I don't have all the answers, but I'll give you two things that helped me.
NEVER wait for your muse to show.
I don't believe in muses. I never have. Some writers do, and that's okay, but for me, my "muse" is my imagination. To tap into my imagination, I choose to be proactive, not passive. The way to stoke the fires of my imagination? Simple: Sit down, put my fingers on the keyboard, and write.
ALWAYS write for the trashcan. There is no "right way" to put down words. Whether this makes you feel better or not I have no idea, but the fact is you're not going to get it right the first time. I think what holds us back is the idea that we have to get it perfect before putting it down. I don't find this true. Often, I find my story in the second draft, sometimes the third. In the beginning, it took more than two or three drafts. The sooner I accepted this, the more peaceful I became.
Like my coffee cup says:
By now, I have forgotten to eat lunch. I'm so into whatever I'm doing, be it edits for first draft or blogs or whatever, that I sort of snap out of it and realize I'm starving, haven't had a glass of water in three hours, and haven't gone to the bathroom in just as long. Now is when I typically take a break. Not a bad idea to step outside, take a breath of fresh air. Say hi to the dog, check the mailbox. Maybe another cup of coffee if it's one of those days.
For me, my imagination wakes up in the morning and shuts down right about now. The husband is almost done with work, dinner needs made or purchased or at least thought about, and I'm just about done hearing the words in my head.
I'm not a fan of having the television on. Typically, I will play games on my iPad, or turn on some music, or the husband and I will sit and read, or play on our phones and share the goings-on of our day.
By now, and sometimes sooner, I have opened an adult beverage, and finally meandered down to the basement to watch something on TV. At this point, I'm ready to be entertained by someone else. We watch Netflix or DVR most often. Some of my favorite shows now? Sons of Anarchy, Outlander, Parenthood, Supernatural, Whose Line is it Anyway?, New Girl, and since it starts soon, I'm guessing American Horror Story will be added to this list.
Yep, that's Outlander. Now you see why this is good fodder for a romance writer.
Varies, but typically 10 or 11 o'clock is when I hit the hay. And then about 7 or 8 is when my eyes naturally open. Provided one of my heroes doesn't wake me up at three in the morning with a litany of things to say, I will sleep through the night. But if he is persistent, and has a great idea that can't wait, sometimes I'm up in the wee hours typing those words into my laptop.
Nothing spectacular, no fairy dust, no bartering with a magical Muse. Just commitment to my passion, paired with a stubbornness to fit my life around that passion.
What about YOU?
What will you do today to find time to daydream?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
How will you use them?
Suggested reading that helped me discover my dream:
- Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado
- Organizing from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
- The Millionaire Course, Marc Allen (not what you think) ;)
- On Writing, Stephen King
Ask me anything!
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