Sunday, August 17, 2014

Carve Out Time For Writing

This week I failed my own standards. I wasn't writing my 250 words every day. I know, I know... I should have. But there is a reason for that - work. "Work, that is no reason, that is an excuse. We all have to work. You have to force yourself if you want to be a professional writer." I can already hear the arguments, discussions and opinions. 

Seriously? After three days in a row with 16 hours at work, I just fell asleep while writing. No kidding - by body took its toll. 

Here is the clue - apart of taking yourself seriously as a writer, you also have to take care of yourself. You have only a certain amount of time and it is completely up to you to decide how you want to spend it. I agree that cutting off gaming, surfing and sometimes even reading is a good idea. However, I would stay away from cutting time off sleeping, eating and a decent amount of exercise. Also, try to find a sustainable balance between writing and your social life, be it time with your family or with friends. Last but not least there is work and sometimes the amount of time you have to spend for it is not in your hands.

Having said that, even with a demanding work like mine, there is room to carve out writing time.

I have twice a day 44 minutes of train ride which I can use for writing. Sometimes I use one of the train rides for reading or listening to writing podcasts and the other one for writing or I use both for writing. On a normal day (i.E. when I don't fall asleep) I make about 300 words during one train ride.

Lunch time
Not every day, but at least twice a week I find the time to go to a park or a coffee shop and write some pages.

Even with family, there is always time on the weekend to write - sometimes more, sometimes less. As I am more a morning person, I try to get up early in order to have more time during the day. My blog for example is something I usually outline on the subway ride (10x 5min) and write it down on the weekend. Having said that you probably want to communicate your writing time actively if you have family. Don't leave them without knowing what are your plans so you can have your time and they know when they will have you back.

For vacation, basically the same rules apply as for weekends except that you might carve out more time in order to do more intensive work, such as rewriting or editing.

A little side note on tools. If you have a rather scattered writing schedule like me, one of the main criteria for a writing tool is seamless synchronization. In my earlier writing days I used very brick-and-mortar approach - I e-mailed my story back an forth using the e-mail account as tool. Key to this approach is a meticulous versioning. 

Today, there are several tools which have built-in synchronization functionality. I use a tool called the Storyist, which allows me to have my story up-to-date on all my devices (Notebook, iPad and iPhone) on one click.

Happy carving
Your writer in a foreign land

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