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Jul 07

Mischa Eliot

A Penny for your Thoughts: Finding Time for Writing

It’s easier than you think you find the time to write. I don’t recommend writing during a meeting at work or during class. These are things that are important to your livelihood. Don’t jeopardize your wellbeing.

Recently, I went to an appointment with my daughter and had an hour of time. Instead of sitting there waiting and watching the little tv, I pulled up a new note on my phone and started typing away. Even though it’s a little slower than typing on a full keyboard, I did get quite a few paragraphs written. It’s a first draft that I’m working on, so it may end up completely cut or reworked, but the goal was to write. I made my goal. I didn’t think word count or page count either. My goal was simply to write that day.

If you are starting out it’s easy to get bogged down with the entire process. Page or word count. Needing a plot of idea. Needing character sheets detailing the littlest of tidbits. Forget all of it for now.

My ideas come to me in a flash. My drunken muse wakes up and trips over something which then causes an idea to spark and sets a fire in my brain. It could just be something small like seeing a woman scrubbing blood from her hands furiously. Where did the blood come from? That looks like a gas station restroom or some other kind of run down public place. Is she frightened? If so, is someone chasing her?

This is how I work. With the Supervisor Sexcapades it started with someone saying something that sparked the conflagration. I wrote down several ideas, with help, and then went from there. Listen to the people around you. What are they saying? Can you tell how they are feeling on the surface? Write down what they appear to be feeling and then find out what they are hiding beneath those emotions.

Right now, I’m writing at work. No, I shouldn’t be, however, our systems are down and my work is all digital. I dislike sitting and doing nothing, unless that’s the goal. It made me think I should do a blog post about how to find time to write. Appointments are a great way.

Appointments can be for the doctor, getting an oil change, and so forth. If you’re going on a trip and taking a bus, plane, or train? Great writing time. If someone else is driving for a road trip of some kind and they aren’t much for conversation, and you can handle staring at a screen while riding. Bonus!

If you’re walking at the park, you can always dictate to software capable of taking vocal notes, such as Evernote. I haven’t tested the dictation feature all that much because I utilize my OneDrive so much that I’d have to copy the text from Evernote to OneDrive and … I think I’ll just wait for Microsoft to catch up at this point (I’m used to it).

Other times you can write: Do you go out and eat alone? Write while you’re waiting for your food to arrive. Observing people in public places is a great way to find a quirk for your characters. Maybe another customer keeps repeating the same kind of buzz word (like Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s Bazinga) and you can use that in your story.

There are always times that we are waiting for something or someone. Even if it is just five minutes (because there’s always that one person who can’t be on time for a meeting), if you have a note taking app on your phone, you have time to write. You don’t have to write complete details and descriptions either. You can write down the idea, then just note where the characters are so you know to include the setting later.

Don’t forget your lunch break. I try to write on every lunch break. It doesn’t always pan out but I would rather get down fifty words than a big fat zero for the day. Remember, your first draft may end up being bare bones, but the goal is to get from the beginning to the end. Once you do that you can go back and fix everything that went wrong. Currently I’m writing for a submission call and I can’t decide if this is before or after the next installment for the Supervisor Sexcapades. It’s a big difference though, so I need to decide. However, I can write around that scene and simply add it in once I’m done with the bare bones draft.

If you look at your day differently, you’ll realize there are all kinds of time for writing.

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