I should subtitle this post Writing Over the Holidays without Losing Your Marbles…
I’m writing this in November, and I’m sure there are a number of you out there in readerland who are participating in NaNoWriMo this year. While I’m not in NaNoWriMo this year, it is a busy time of year for me and I realized a few things about creatively making time to write. I thought I’d share them with you.
A Little Planning Goes A Long Way
In a couple weeks we’re going to have some relatives over for the big Thanksgiving meal. We’ve got a lot of prep work to do, and a lot needs to get done. I know this isn’t exactly rocket science here, but a little planning ahead can make things run much smoother and free up your time in general.
I have to cook so many things for the holiday – a big one being a homemade cheesecake. This thing isn’t that difficult to make, but it’s about a three hour task between preparing, baking and cleaning up. This means for three hours I’m here – I can’t go anywhere (well, maybe during the phase when I shut the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven I could, but personally I think leaving your house when you’re cooking anything is a bad idea). After the cheesecake cooled I threw it in the freezer, where it’s going to stay until Thanksgiving.
This is pretty nice – I got some writing in. Good pages, mind you. I can check one of the things off the list that need to get done before the holiday, which not only de-stresses me but leaves me more time to write over the next few weeks since it’s already done.
Small Efforts Consistently Applied Add Up
During the inactive time – about two hours when the cheesecake is in the oven and I can’t do anything else, I decided to sit down and write. I managed to get a tight, 5-page script out for a short I may shoot in a couple months. And I had some time to plot the next section of Witch City: Visionary. I decided to clear my mind with this blog post before going heads-down again.
Think about this for a bit – in what, two hours of shutting the TV off, not screwing around with Facebook or Twitter, and just setting my mind to writing, I was able to get a lot done. You can too.
I think many people who complain about not having time to write either don’t manage their time well or they’re so attached to whatever it is that keeps them from writing that they hem and haw. There’s no reason you can’t do things you love as well as write. Seriously. If there’s a TV show you love, record it and watch it later. If you’ve got kids or work commitments, by all means do what you need to do.
But try to set aside some dedicated time to write. Where can you fit it in? I used to bring my laptop or a notebook to my daughters’ dance classes while I was writing THE TRIP. I’d bring it to work and write at lunch. You get the idea.
If you’ve been stalling because you think you need to sit there for 8-10 hours every day and write, relax. The thing that makes you a writer is writing. It doesn’t matter how long you do it in each session as long as you do it. So many creatives don’t spend that kind of time writing. We’ve got day jobs, we’ve got lives away from the keyboard. What makes you an artist is creating art.
If it’s time for NaNoWriMo and you’re participating, good luck. Even if it’s not November and you’re reading this, keep my advice in mind. Don’t beat yourself up if you find it tough to dedicate time to your art. It is tough, but you can do it.
Good luck, and if you have any suggestions please leave a comment.