Time to Write
SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?
Many people have entertained the idea of being a writer. They feel the passion to write. They have a best-seller idea. They want to share their specialist knowledge with the rest of the world. Yet years go by and nothing happens. Why? The reason is almost always the same: they can't find the time to write.
Whether you want to write fictions, magazine articles, plays, screen plays, non-fiction books, children's stories, film scripts, radio scripts or commercial writings, one thing is for certain: if you want to be successful writer, you must write.
There are only 24 hours in a day and most of us lead hectic lifestyles which leave little time for luxury like sitting down to write. Family and job usually come first, and by the time the dishes have been washed and the children put to bed, chances are you're exhausted yourself and the writing will just have to be postponed until another time.
But if writing is important to you, then you must be disciplined and decide how you want to divide your time. You'll have to analyse your lifestyle and cross a few things off your list to free up time for your personal goals.
And it's not as difficult as you may think.
HOW TO MAKE TIME
If in doubt, cut it out
Record your daily activities in details for a week. Look at the list and eliminate those activities which do not contribute positively to your life. One such obvious activity is watching television. If you must watch it, at least try cutting the time spent on it. Watch it for one hour instead of two, and you'll have seven more hours to write every week. Don't watch it at all and you'll have fourteen extra hours!
If you spend long periods gossiping with friends on the phone, try cutting it down and using emails to keep in touch instead. I'm not suggesting you should cut off all contact with your friends, but if you want to be a successful writer, you'll have to sacrifice some of that gossip time.
Break out from the rut
Are you one of those people who go through their days by rote? Up at 7.30am, breakfast at 8.00am, set off for work at 8.30am, at work until 6.30pm, dinner and TV until 9.30pm, watch the news at 10.00pm and go to bed at 10.30pm? Do you follow the same schedule pretty much every day? Do you spend a lot of time doing something because you've always done it, not because you enjoy it or it makes a positive contribution to the quality of your life?
If that sounds like you, then try having a break from your set routine and be surprised at how much extra time you have. For example, you don't 'have to' watch the 10 o'clock news every evening. If you skip it for two nights a week you will have created some writing time for yourself. Perhaps you are one of those who can write with the radio on in the background. In that case, listen to the news on the radio while you're writing and kill two birds with one stone.
Sleep a little less
If you are a morning person, get up an hour earlier. If you're a night owl, go to bed an hour later. Pick a time at which you feel most creative.
Use your lunch hour
Don't write at your desk though because you're likely to be distracted by office activities or hassled by your boss about that urgent report. Escape to the back of your car, a café or the park to do your writing, anywhere where you won't be disturbed for a while.
If you work near a library then you are lucky. You can use your lunch hour to do research for your writing. Nowadays most libraries have internet facilities so you can also conduct online research.
Use your travel time
If you take the train or the bus to work, use that time productively rather than looking out of the window. Carry a notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas or even write your next chapter. Or print out a few pages of your writing for editing during this time. Look at your fellow passengers for ideas: one of them may be the perfect character for your novel.
If you drive to work, invest in a hand-held recorder. You can use it to record ideas, or to dictate your writing. Then when you get home all you have to do is play it back and type it in the computer.
De-clutter your life
Spend a few days clearing out the clutter in your life. By this I mean both the physical clutter around the house, and the emotional clutter which has prevented you from writing in the past. For example: how often have you said this to yourself?
"I will write when I feel happier about myself."
"I want to lose some weight first."
"I can't start writing until I've sorted out my relationship problems."
"I don't feel confident that I can write."
See what I'm getting at? Spring-cleaning your life is a good way to start a more disciplined and structured writing life.
Enlist the help of your family. Ask your partner or parents to look after the children once or twice a week. If you have older children, ask them to help with house chores for a small reward. That way they'll feel they're helping you with your writing, they get paid, the housework gets done, and you get to write for an hour or two. Everyone's happy.
Talk to your family and friends about your passion for writing. They may not understand what writers do, but at least they will be able to feel your passion for writing and provide the support you need. If they don't know you need support, you're not going to get it.
HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
Okay, now that you have freed up some time for writing, how do you make sure you use this time productively?
Establish a writing schedule
Writing is essentially a solitary activity. As a writer you need to be self-disciplined; nobody is going to make you sit down and write. In fact, your family and friends will be glad that you're not writing and are spending time with them. But to succeed as a writer, you must write. Having a writing schedule is an important step. If you don't schedule something, chances are it will get pushed to the bottom of your list and never get done.
Write every day if you can. Otherwise, aim to write on a regular basis: every two days, three times a week or whatever suits you. The important thing is to write regularly. The more you write regularly, the more your writing will flow.
Buy a wall calendar, highlight your writing time a week ahead and put it up where you can see it. If you're disciplined enough you can use a pocket or electronic diary, but make sure you do look at it and not just let it sit in the drawer. Stick to the plan the same way as you would other regular activities in your life. Don't make excuses for yourself.
If you can, write at the same time every day. Writing regularly at a specified time establishes a pattern, and is essential to building a schedule.
Pick a time to suit your lifestyle
If you want to write from midnight to two in the morning and get up at 10am, and it fits in with your lifestyle, then do it. Similarly you may want to go to bed at 9pm, get up at 4 in the morning and write until the children get out of bed.
Don't get distracted
Aim to do nothing but write during your scheduled writing time. Try not to get distracted by writing-related activities such as research, note-gathering, writing the outline, etc. Do these things at some other time, ie, read the book for your research at bed time. If you find yourself spending all your scheduled writing time in preparatory work and never get down to the actual writing, then you need to take a look at why you're actually avoiding writing.
Prepare for writing (if you need to)
If you have a demanding full-time job, you may still be in work mode and find it hard to relax when you get home. In that case you may need to do something to help ease you into a more productive mood for writing. Call it a transition phase if you like. Try the following:
o Do some gentle exercise
o Have a shower or a warm bath
o Spend 10 minutes with your children
o Read a few pages of a book
o Listen to some relaxing music for 10 minute
o Go for a short walk
o Enjoy a cup of tea in the garden
Don't over-do this bit though or you'll end up not writing.
Stick to the schedule no matter what
When it comes to your scheduled time to write, do it, even if your mind is completely blank and the last thing you want to do is sit down and write.
Don't worry about writing rubbish at first - even the greatest writers wrote rubbish sometime in their lives. Don't expect to create something worthy of publication each time. Even if you have only managed to produce garbage in a ten-minute slot, you have achieved something: you have written. As most writers know, beginning is the hardest part. Once you've started, it gets easier.
The bottom line is: don't spend too much time thinking about writing, write!
Put up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on your door (if you write in a separate room), on your computer or on the back of your chair. Be selfish. Let your family know you are doing something for yourself for an hour or two, but you will emerge as the loving wife/mother or husband/father again in due course. Don't let guilt stop you from following your dreams.
Initially your family may ignore your sign, but don't give in the moment someone shouts: "Mum/dad, where's my ? (fill in the blank)", or "Honey could you get me my (fill in the blank)". Be strict. Don't make exception unless the house is on fire. They will get used to your schedule after a few days.
At the end of each writing session, set yourself a goal for the next one. This can be:
"I'll produce 500 words."
"I'll write 3 pages."
"I'll finish the first chapter."
Having a goal not only helps to motivate you, it will also minimise wasted time when you begin your next session.
Don't use "I don't have time" as an excuse anymore. Remember, we tend to make time for something we really want to do. It all depends on how badly you want to become a writer; if your desire to write is strong enough, you will find the time.
Mui Tsun is the creator of Inspire Software: the simple yet powerful Character Generator, First Line Generator and Scenario Generator will enhance your creativity, kick-start your imagination and clear your writer's block. For more information visit http://www.raincatcher.co.uk/inspire.htmDon't be stuck, be inspired!
For more ideas and inspiration, visit the Rain Catcher website at:http://www.raincatcher.co.uk
Do The Unfamiliar To Keep Your Writing Going
One of the best ways to blow someone's winning streak during a tennis game is to comment on how great they are doing. Your comment will kick in their left brain's inner critic which will zap their flow and change their focus.
Writing as a Gift
What am I supposed to give Anthony as a wedding gift? I asked Kristin, my bridesmaid and person-who-was-married. I mean, what kinds of things do brides give their grooms? I was thinking of hiring someone to clean the house before we left for the honeymoon so wed come back to a spotless house.
Effective Collaboration - Working With Your Ghostwriter
Using a ghostwriter to craft your free reprint articles and marketing materials is an excellent way to maximize your time and profit. The fastest and most effective way to find a freelance ghostwriter or editor is to post your writing projects on an on-line service like Freelance Work Exchange at http://tinyurl.
Looking For Good Copywriter Books?
If you are looking for copywriter books, you'll want to devote some time to reading. In fact, if you plan to look online for your copy writer resources, you might as well just devote your life to reading! There are so many books that are available for you to purchase.
To Outline Or Not To Outline
Ah, the age-old writer's debate--to outline or not to outline?Outlines have proven quite effective for a lot of writers, and many of the famous stories we know and love--such as Star Wars--were outlined before they were fleshed out into a living, breathing story. (Well, metaphorically living and breathing, anyway.
Power Writing 101: Tips and Tricks to Get You Taken Seriously!
In my ten years as an advertiser, I've encountered plenty of folks with a flair for writing. They were born having some idea of where to put the words within the sentence, and the sentences within the paragraph.
Your Words Will Determine Your Business!
Be careful when you write.Words you use, sentences you phrase will reveal what you are.
Time-Saving Skills to Get More from Your Writing
As you set out to create your first niche non-fiction book (and hopefully your first bestseller), you will be supported by a strong motivation to keep your mind focused on the essential business at hand i.e.
Story Structure - Final Conflict
Beyond three and four act story structure, lies the Hero's Journey.The Hero's Journey is the most usable story structure consisting of at least 106 stages and the template for successful contemporary stories, from Star Wars to Al Pacino Scarface to The Incredibles to War of the Worlds to The Dirty Dozen to Midnight Cowboy.
Ghostwriting - Making Money by Being Invisible
My bookcase take up one whole wall in the family room, from floor to ceiling. It shows my eclectic reading tastes.
Voice in Narrative and Dialogue - A Contrast of Writing Styles
One of the nice things about being an author is that we can breakany rule we want. (I just did.
Five Keys To A Successful Query Letter
Do you know what a query letter is? If so, you are of a rare breed-a writer. Most people don't.
Passionate About Writing?
I'm a writing fool! 2 book proposals, 1 user's guide, a business technology analysis paper, and a FileMaker Pro 7 application! Can you say, "RedBull?" Actually, my preferred energy drink of choice is Monster. But I'll save my energy drinks discussion for another time.
Tips On Writing A Killer Sales Letter
Writing a sales letter doesn't have to be that difficult all you need is the right writing style and some tips to knock out a killer sales letterBenefits The first thing you need to do is focus on the benefits the reader will find useful. Tell the reader what's in it for him.
Gaining Writing Experience
GAINING WRITING EXPERIENCE Some Catch-22, huh? In the writing business, you can't get published until you have some experience. If you can't get published until you have experience, how do you get experience? How do you get publishing clips to show all those publishers who want to see "previously published clips"? It's almost as if Lily Tomlin's telephone operator character came up with this: "Is this the party to whom I'm speaking? Are you the unpublished writer who has published clips I can look at? (Snort, snort!)" What's an unpublished writer to do? Get published, of course! I'm not being flippant; I'm serious.
2nd Installment on Autobiography
ESSAY 2Andre Malraux once said that what interested him in any person was "the human condition." Malraux was interested not so much in people's personality but, rather, in their "particular relationship with the world.
The Cost of Being a Writer
You are the only one who knows what being a writer means to you.You are the only one who knows whether you consider it to be a career, or a pleasant hobby.
Dialogue Tags - A Study in Common Errors
Verb and SubjectIncorrect:"I bet you two had a fine time," said Ben.When using tags, it's unusual to have the verb before the subject.
How To Write Thank You Letters With Class
When I first started tracking the information preferencesof people visiting my Writing Help Central Web site I wassurprised to find how many folks were seeking informationon how to write thank you letters. In fact, "thank youletter" information and sample templates are the third ranked destinations at that Web site.
How to Write Bad Poetry
So you've decided to crown yourself with a title that a million other people (just like you (yes, just like you!)) give themselves every day. Some people believe giving yourself such a title is equivalent to, and just as beneficial monetarily, as naming yourself Queen of England.