How do you find time to write?

These days, with dozens of digital distractions, writers have to physically block out time to write. It hasn’t always been this way, of course.

Writing her heart out
When I first started writing, we didn’t even have VCR’s, and the only “Mario and Luigi” we knew owned competing pizza shops. I was four years old. I had made a list of random letter combinations and asked my mom (my family’s literary expert) if any of them were words. One was: “Tom.”

Hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?

My point is that the only real distractions we had ‘way back then’ were the television and the great outdoors. We only had three channels and the weather sucked six months out of twelve, so there was plenty of time for writing — or reading, or playing board games, or backyard tackle football (no protective gear at all; were we crazy or what?).

“I’m pretty sure most of what we wrote was crap”

When I was in high school, two friends and I had so much time on our hands we actually founded a student newspaper. In fact, it was a surprising success. We “formatted” our articles on a cheap electric typewriter and used rub-to-transfer sheets to compose headlines. I’m pretty sure most of what we wrote was crap, but the other students seemed to like it.

In college, when I wasn’t dating and drinking, I found time for a daily radio show and a staff level position on the student news-magazine. I even attended some classes now and then. The only video games I’d ever seen were built into cool tabletops at the pub where we gathered. “Walka-walka-walka”!

Then came the Mario Brothers from Nintendo. That was the beginning of the end.

If I had a dollar for every hour I’ve spent playing that game and all the ones that followed after, I could go to Aruba and do some serious gambling while I was there.

I still found time to write, though. Plenty of it. In between building my own house and designing a board game (which our family still plays today), I joined various writers’ groups and filled a couple of notebooks with short fiction. (I should look for those, maybe.)

Along came the Internet, and everything changed again.

I didn’t get online until about 1999, and it was dial-up. So much for watching videos or playing MMORPG’s (giant group games). I did, however, find the coolest little forum-based writing group ever, sponsored by my ISP, CompuServe (now defunct.)

We posted stories in plain text, downloaded them to read them, and then discussed our reactions in the group’s forum. Some of what I wrote for that group wasn’t crap. In fact, I still treasure several of those short stories.

When I finally arrived at Helium in 2007, I still had plenty of time to write stuff, all kinds of stuff. I wrote writing tips, some short stories, a bunch of assorted non-fiction — and even sold quite a few articles directly to publishers. [Note: I still write paid articles for Helium’s Content Source group.]

And then Helium told us all to join Facebook.

Damn you Facebook.

I swear, that was the worst decision — and the best decision. I’ve met the nicest and coolest people on Facebook, and even reconnected with old friends. But that led to LinkedIn and BranchOut and Twitter and StumbleUpon, and… Well, the list seems to grow every day. “You should be there!” But wait, I’m not really Pinterested, am I? Don’t even ask me about FarmVille.

Did I mention I have a family, too?

I have a wonderful wife, two amazing kids of my own, and a daughter we share. Sure, all three of the kids are adults now, but they’re all close-by and they still like us. In fact, my whole extended family lives about a half-hour away. We hold monthly “game nights” that have nothing to do with the Mario Brothers.

We also have another “daughter” — Layla the dog. Yup, she needs attention, too. Since we don’t have a fenced-in yard, she needs regular walks. Every day would be nice. In bad weather she has to settle for twice a week or so. Sometimes I feed her, too. And let her sleep on my lap.

Not only that, I have a full-time day job.

OK. So I don’t have any time to write. I find time to write. I write stuff in my head while I’m driving around. I make notes before dinner, after walking the dog. I think about writing dialogue while my wife and I watch one of our favorite shows, like Big Bang Theory (only the funniest show since Seinfeld!). I write posts about writing while my wife is asleep beside me on the couch (right now).

Some of you travel.

Others of you still have time and money for golf or skiing or other happy hobbies.

Plenty of you go to church on the weekend, or look after aging family members, or volunteer at the library. You go running in the dark before work. You tend to glorious gardens. You work wonders with wood  and fix old trucks. Lots of you have jobs and spouses and kids and pets.

Yet you still find time to write.

At least two of the writers I know have managed to publish a novel in their “spare time.”

How do you do it? What do you give up to make room for writing? Maybe you stay up later than you should, lights dimmed, fingers flying across the keyboard. Or you’ve given up going to the movies (they have gotten rather expensive, haven’t they?).

Do you turn off the TV? Perhaps your kids have grown up and moved far away, leaving unexpected free time for writing. One of the things I “gave up” was mowing the lawn. I pay a guy to mow mine, and don’t miss doing it one bit. So there’s two extra hours a week for half the year. I’d pay a kid to shovel the driveway if I could find one willing.

Not many of us get rich from our writing.

Some of us are freelance writers who’ve actually made some decent money from our words. Others are devoted poets or capable editors. SoWrite’s first sponsor hosts a website for writers. Several of you devote hours each week to author personal or business blogs. Despite our efforts, none of the writers I know personally are making five-figures a year (much less, six!).

So it’s probably not the lure of riches that drives us to write. Or boredom, or lack of alternatives. Not once in a million posts have I seen anyone on Facebook volunteer, “I have SO much free time I just don’t know what to do with it.”

“…because the words inside us need to come out”

Something else gets sacrificed to make room for writing. That’s a given. It might be family time, or leisure time, or a hobby left behind. To find more time to write, I could read less, for instance. I’d miss my favorite authors, though.

Comes down to it, we write whether we have time to write or not. We write for fun or profit, fiction or non-fiction, because the words inside us need to come out. Because we have something to share.

We write because we must.

  »photo credit: Alex E. Proimos

questionWhat have you given up in order to make time for writing? Or have you given up some of your writing time to make room for other pursuits?

 

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Comments

  1. Jm, Great post! There s lttle doubt we as human bengs have the express need to express ourselves, but also to create. ‘Know thyself’ comes to mnd; –t s the most fortunate ndvdual that recognzes that need and actually makes the necessary tme and sacrfces to actually DO t -and no doubt, they are trade-offs and sacrfces.
    It s ndsputable that the greatest cvlzatons on earth created the most beautful artwork and the most sgnfcant, tmeless wrtten lterary works. Let us create the same legacy -whatever t takes to construct t.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      You make an nterestng pont, Raymond.
      When people have or make tme to express themselves creatvely, they do ndeed leave a legacy behnd. I hadn’t consdered ths n the wder sense, so thanks for pontng t out.
      I’m sure f we leave behnd a collecton of poems, short stores, a documentary or a novel — all of those wll have far greater value and lastng mpresson than any of our posts on Facebook.

    • I take a more cyncal vew. Rather than, ” human bengs have the need to express ourselves and create,” I’d say human bengs have the need to engage n status seekng behavor, lke composng musc, wrtng books, and playng sports.

      Okay, jokes asde. The only way I get wrtng done s by gong cold turkey. The nternet, facebook, vdeo games, etc… are just way to frkken addctng. If I do thngs n a normal way, t takes me weeks to wrte what I could have done n 2 days f I’d blocked access to electrcty.

      • Jim Bessey says:

        “…way too frkken addctng” s so rght t hurts, Amt!

        And to an extent, your humorous observaton about ‘status seekng behavor’ s probably true. There s certanly a socal aspect to wrtng, once one goes beyond the Journalng stage. We wrte to communcate but also to gan respect n the eyes of our peers and readers.
        So, now you’re sayng I have to turn off the electrc too, not just the Internet? Ykes! :-)

  2. Great artcle, Jm, and thanks for the plug-n. :)

    You could say wrtng s my frst love and all-tme love, so t goes wthout sayng that when I want to spend tme wrtng, I wrte. I’ve wrtten whle watng n lne for an ntervew, a poem whch turned out brllant and nspred from out of the blue, and I’ve wrtten whle on a tran, whle n a plane… I’ve wrtten n a boat… I’ve wrtten at the houses I’ve vsted, I’ve wrtten obtuares whle at homes to condole people… the lst goes on. I’ve gven up low-payng job ops to work at offces so that I do not compromse on my wrtng, consderng most of my earnngs would, n any case be spent on commutng, n addton to workng many hours out of home. What I wll have eventually saved at a job (from what I’ve been offered so far), I make up wth wrtng. I step out of the house and my neghbors ask me “How’s your wrtng gong on?” or what I hear now… “How’s your book comng along?” I thnk most who know me now assocate me wth ‘wrtng’. Ths has always been my dream and I am lvng t. I spend as much as 10 hours or more a day wrtng at tmes and wrte way nto the nght. When I get nto that wrtng frenzy, sleep s not a prorty then and I work hard at fnshng what I’ve set my mnd on wrtng.

    I’ve gven up a whole lot to make room for wrtng, and t seems to work just fne for me. :) Saves me the hassle of gettng nvolved n unnecessary gossp around the block. :)

    • Mandy, when you’re a wrter, there’s no queston, no doubt. I can certanly dentfy wth that. Non-stop wrtng at tmes. Mdnght ol. Interrupt anythng that has to be nterrupted. That’s exactly what happens. I wrte at any tme, 4:00am or not.

      • Jim Bessey says:

        Wow, 4 am Raymond?
        Have to admt I’ve never done any wrtng that late/early. On the other hand, I have looked up whle workng on a long wrtng project and wondered aloud: “No way that can be the correct tme, rght??”
        Those hours from 1 am to 6 am I try to reserve for sleepng! :-)

        • Jm, unfortunately or fortunately, dependng on how you look at t, awakenng at 4:00 am wth a brllant dea s when the best wrtng can occur. We only need 2 hrs of sleep between spurts of creatvty…so they say…LOL I wrote a major screenplay usng that system. “:))

    • Jim Bessey says:

      You certanly have, Mandy, and t shows your commtment.
      Your love of the language and your devoton to creatve expresson certanly justfy the sacrfces you’ve made.
      I’m honored that you’ve taken tme away from lfe and wrtng to talk to me at length about my vson for SoWrte, and have joned the ste as a sponsor.

      • No worres to t, Jm. We are all connected n some way or the other when we have a common dream and purpose, and that s to wrte. I defntely cannot rely on my own abltes to get me places, and ‘need’ help from frends, and t only goes to say that when smlar boost and encouragement has to be gven, t doesn’t hurt to lend support, regardless n what form t may be. I fnd t refreshng, very refreshng, when I see creatve talent takng shape to provde both wrtng as well as earnng opportuntes whch n a way also provdes ‘jobs’ for others. When you have a product that wll enhance and uplft a wrter, what’s not to support. I love what you have created wth SoWrte. It has a great deal of potental and I am proud to know you my frend. :)

        Raymond, such s the lfe of a wrter, aye? See, I slept from 10:30 p.m. last nght, too early for my usual schedule, and here I am at 3:30 + a.m, wde awake and back to wrtng. It doesn’t bother me anymore when I don’t sleep by the clock or work by the clock. All n all, as long as I get my rest and my wrtng’s done and so s famly taken care of, what dfference does t make wth a few dsplacement of hours here or there? I’m happy wth who I am and what I do and I love the lfe of a wrter. Wll never trade t n for anythng else. :)

  3. Well well…challengng tmes, I mght say
    To be honest t all comes to how bad do you want t? How bad do you want to be come a good wrter? How much are you wllng to sacrfce for that?
    To me lmtng the tme I spend on Facebook and on watchng TV are not really that bg sacrfces… just lek wakng up early to have an hour of slence and soltude to wrte.
    What I mean s that f there s bg desre there s always a way out…

    • Jim Bessey says:

      I love that lne, An, and the song by Tm McGraw: “How Bad Do You Want It?”
      Your early mornng soltude sounds fantastc. I’ve done that on some Sundays, wth everyone stll asleep, and produced some of my favorte peces durng those moments of quet. I need to do that more often!
      You’re entrely rght: t comes down to desre and devoton to the outcome you envson.

  4. Love ths artcle! Personally, I wrte all the tme. Even when I’m not physcally wrtng, I’m wrtng…oh those tmes when I’m drvng, and all I want to do s take out my phone and record the thoughts, before they evaporate nto thn ar! Slently repeatng thngs over and over agan n the grocery store, only to hurry and wrte them on any scrap of paper I can fnd n my purse…lowerng the heat on the stove, to pop over to my computer, hopng I don’t get too dstracted and affect whatever t s I’m cookng…

    I’ve reorganzed a few prortes n my lfe to meet the need to wrte. Keepng a clean house wll always be mportant to me, but beng obsessve about t wll never be an opton, because t takes too much tme away from wrtng. Readng … I love to read. However, I love to wrte more. I must admt, I read fewer books these days than I ever dd before. Can’t blame t all on wrtng, however. Lfe keeps me gong strong n all sorts of ways.

    Regardless, you stated t perfectly, Jm. Wrters fnd tme to wrte, and they make sacrfces to do t.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Thanks, MJ,
      You wrote “oh those tmes when I’m drvng, and all I want to do s take out my phone and record the thoughts, before they evaporate nto thn ar!” and that resonated perfectly wth me. In fact, I used to carry a mn-cassette recorder for just that reason. (Then I’d forget to check t at the end of the day…)
      You’re rght that the only way to make real tme for wrtng s to reorganze your prortes. It’s true that there aren’t enough hours n a gven day to get done everythng you mght want to accomplsh — so some of that just has to go by the waysde.
      Readng, for me, s not only relaxng but educatonal and nsprng. I can’t even begn to place a value on what I’ve learned from the wrters I respect, or on the ways ther words have changed my vews of the world. A sde note about that: I’m always thrlled when Stephen Kng has one of hs characters readng somethng wrtten by one of my favorte authors. I’ve seen that numerous tmes; makes me feel good about my author choces.
      Stll, I do need to fnd more tme to wrte, one way or another.

  5. Modern lfe certanly s a challenge for those of us who prefer to wrte a lttle more than 140 characters – or to wrte a paragraph nstead of a capton for an mage. Sadly, I thnk you are rght. If we are to make the tme to cultvate the wrtng muse, somethng else has to go. It mght be Facebook, t mght be the housecleanng, t mght be that extra hour of sleep. We all have to make a decson about what we can gve up n servce to that need to express yourself n wrtng!

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Sarah, you had me laughng rght away wth “those of us who prefer to wrte a lttle more than 140 characters”!
      I wonder f I could wrte short stores 140 characters per ‘chapter’? :-) I’m sure at least several Twtter-lterate wrters are tryng t.
      You sad t all wth “somethng else has to go.” No doubt about t! Thanks for droppng n, Sarah.

  6. I really enjoyed ths post, Jm, thanks for fndng the tme to wrte t!

    As a father to two young chldren I relate to the struggle to fnd tme to wrte n a busy lfe, and how that struggle can sometmes morph sneakly nto avodng the call to wrte (I’m talkng to you Survvor, onlne poker, bulgng bookmark folder). It’s hard to navgate all the avalable dstractons, especally when those dstractons can sometmes fuel our wrtng–most of my learnng about the raft of wrtng was done n onlne poetry forums.

    I loved ths observaton: “…because the words nsde us need to come out” I can feel that, t’s lke they have a lfe of ther own, that can only be lved through us, and those who read them.

    Even wth all the dstractons n the world tappng on our shoulders, sn’t t great that we fnd tme to turn away and wrte what we are called to wrte. Even though most of my wrtng tme feels ‘stolen’ from other areas of my lfe, that fact s satsfyng n tself, t’s lke I trcked the world out of a few mnutes and used t to create a poem, a blog post, a small handwrtten ‘vctory’ aganst the odds.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      I couldn’t have sad t any better, Dave!
      I’d love to have authored your fnal paragraph, above, and had t as my own post concluson.
      Thanks for addng those thoughts so perfectly to ths dscusson. I’m rght there wth you, my frend!

  7. Jm, most of the tme the only way I can get wrtng done s to turn off my browser and pretend lke I don’t have nternet. Otherwse, all of those thngs you mentoned completely suck my tme up. Especally snce I’m one of those wrters that lkes to “have wrtten” rather than enjoyng the actual process that much. It’s pretty easy to fnd onlne dstractons!

    • “Turn off my browser” mght be my only true answer, Bobb!
      I’d have to change my habts, though. Two ways I compose are drectly nto the New Post wndow or n a New Document n Google Docs (whch I love). So — whaddaya know? — my browser s always open when I’m wrtng.
      “Ooh, new emal!” or “Oh, look, more notces from Facebook from all of my awesome frends” or “Wat, who repled to one of my Tweets just now?”
      Yup, you’re rght. 100% “Turn off my browser” would be the smart move. :-)
      Thanks!

      • Followng up on your reply to Bobb; gettng rd of TV ‘magcally’ adds hours onto the day. (I can’t remember qute serously when the last tme I watched TV was.) I also turned off notfcatons from Facebook a long tme ago. That s a bg help. You vst when you have tme, not when someone clcked a Lke button. There must be a way to do that n Twtter as well as that s stll a tme-suck for me. Another thng that must do s crawl nto Gmal settngs and turn off emal notfcatons. That’s the bggest tme waster although I use Gmal, calendar, and lke you Docs/spreadsheet for so much. I have opened another address so I have access to all of that but the constant bombardment every 30 sec. sn’t an ntruson nto thought process. As for Sarah’s comments. I’m a bg fan of Papa and always thought he’d have loved Twtter. To your response to her; Hemngway actually wrote a sx-word story; “For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn.”

        • Jim Bessey says:

          Thanks SO much for mentonng that Hemmngway story, Lee!

          I’d been tryng to recall t a couple of weeks ago, and could not remember who’d wrtten t — so had no way to search for t.

          When I thnk back to how I began my foray nto onlne wrtng, the utter lack of dstracton was ncredble. I had sgned up for CompuServe, back when we used to get ther slver and blue dscs every week n the mal (remember those? “coasters!”). CompuServe hosted a Wrters Forum n whch we posted plan-text stores based on prompts. The group members would all crtque each other’s submssons. I dd some pretty darned good wrtng back then. (Forgve me f ths story s n the post!)

          I understand exactly what you’re sayng about all the constant dstractons presented by “notfcatons”. We must open and respond IMMEDIATELY! It’s nerve-wrackng and ultmately, absurd. Unfortunately or not, the world has ndeed moved on. (Stephen Kng, maybe, from the Dark Tower seres?)

  8. Hey Jm.

    As much as I love TV and moves, they were the frst casualtes of my blog. Luckly, the very few shows I do care about can lve on my DVR untl I’m n the mood.

    Also…a good old fashoned composton notebook s wth me almost constantly, so lttle bts and chunks can be wrtten on the fly durng spare moments.

    • I was just thnkng about that yesterday, Gary–
      “a good old fashoned composton notebook.” As Bobb mentoned, that would get me away from the lure of my open browser, too.
      I used to wrte on yellow legal pads and I swear the words just seemed to flow onto the pages. Sometmes they flowed so quckly I could barely read my own wrtng when t came tme to transcrbe to dgtal. Just mght have to revert to that method!
      As for TV, my old favorte was Frday Nght Lghts, one of the best dramatc seres ever wrtten IMHO. I was a bt lost when t ended. Now, however, much of the team from that show has returned wth a wonderful ndulgence called Nashvlle. It’s sometmes overly dramatc n the way that Dallas was, but the foundaton of amazng wrtng and brllant characters remans. I won’t gve t up — I won’t! :-)
      On the other hand, some of the other drvel I watch as background whle wrtng — that can go away. You’re abso’y rght, thanks!

  9. Ah, that s such a cute story. You asked your mom ” f any of them were words” I adore that. I’m sorry. I’m sure you hate me now but I had to say t. I have that gene. Genetcally predsposed.
    Love your sense of humor.. Ironcally, I just wrote a post along a smlar theme about havng to wrte. I have about 400 (maybe more) people on Facebook that are permanently pssed off wth me b/c I never go on there anymore. And f I do, t s only for a text ‘n dash, what I call the sgn n and do and get the hell outta there before you get sucked n! Someone was messagng me as I was dashng off the last tme and I pretended not to see them. See what a terrble frend I am? I won’t even play ther Mafa Wars.
    Actually, I do t by stayng up late though I hear mornng papers are better (wrter joke there). I get up early but I’ve never been a mornng wrter, even f I had all the tme n the world, and who does these days? I love to read and don’t get enough of that as I thnk I do more nternet readng then actual readng. So, I’ve made compromses but I don’t see them that way. I guess you could chalk ths up to a genetc thng too. Wouldn’t you?

    • I’m glad you enjoy my sense of humor, Lee.
      Sometmes I wonder f I’m the only one that laughs at my “materal.” :-)
      Facebook s ndeed a suckng vortex, smply because Mr. Mark and hs team have made t so ncredbly easy for people to nteract quckly and n entertanng ways. Hmm, lesson there for us bloggers, maybe?
      Stayng up late works just fne, too, Lee. Some of us are early brds and others are wse owls — you gotta go wth the way your genes drect you. Next tme I see you on Facebook, I’ll shoot you a message and expect no answer at all. 😉 (Are we Frends there? Not sure.)
      If you happen to stop back, Lee, why not leave us a lnk to that post you mentoned? Thanks!

  10. That s one reason I would get on The Book of Face s to frend you, Jm!
    And yes, somehow, I have been tryng to fgure out how, we must make our blogs more mmedately nteractve. A ‘trbe’ as Jeff Bullas calls t. I am so happy ths mornng because one of the authors I mentoned n my post came by and left an awesome comment for all wrters! It s at
    http://thepontofthequll.com/why-we-must-beleve Thanks for askng.
    I laughed so hard at your “LnkedIn, BranchOut…StumbleUpon” and many others. Keep that sense of humor comng! Thanks agan Jm!

    • Thanks so much for comng back, Lee!
      I know exactly how great t feels when an author you menton n a post stops by to comment, because t happened here on SoWrte just a couple of weeks ago, when Rebecca Forster actually joned the conversaton n “Whch pe s yours?”. She added great value to the conversaton and energzed the thread.
      I’ll be sure to read your post tonght, Lee. And, yes, let’s jon forces on Facebook. That venue has ts own value, when we don’t allow the vortex to control us.

      PS to everyone who has stopped by: I am more than happy to dsplay lnks to your relevant content here n Comments any tme. Please don’t hestate to add your own value to the conversaton, just as Lee dd. Thanks!

  11. Jm, you are so rght. FB s a bg, suckng vortex that sphons off a HUGE amount of creatve tme. The problem wth me s that I love nteractng wth people, that’s genetc for sure–beng a people person. It does, however nterfere wth productvty. I shut my browser rght off at tmes now, ‘just a comment here and there” adds up to HOURS of FB. Shuttng t off has gotten me up to 30k so far on the novel….so t works “:))

    • Jim Bessey says:

      But you’re rght, too, Raymond —
      The real relatonshps our gang has developed on FB do matter to us as socal bengs. We share our hopes and dreams and creatve outpourngs wth each other, and we support each other’s efforts. Those nteractons have enormous value, and we’ve all made fast frends wthn our group. Wow, remember how worred we were about Mac Pke? He’s not just some Avatar on the Interwebs — he’s a frend.

      And yet there has to be a lmt to the tme spent readng and Lkng stuff, vewng vdeos of kttens and puppes and Sharng those pervasve “cards” wth words of eternal wsdom.

      I’ll talk to you prvately later on, Raymond. Need your advce and assstance on a SoWrte project. Look for me later on. Thanks!

  12. Tamara Narayan says:

    H Jm,

    The house doesn’t look t, but tdyng and keepng my chldren happy-fed-clothed are my two bggest wrtng blocks. Just laundry and dshes alone suck up a lot of tme. I’ve decded housekeepng s actually the management of one mllon objects, many of whch need to be washed and moved–here to there and there to here. I’m sufferng from the tyranny of ownershp and t’s hgh tme to move at least 30% out of the home one way or another. Yet that would requre a lot of tme. I’d rather wrte.

  13. Jim Bessey says:

    You certanly made me smle, Tammy.

    Have to agree wth you about the 30%, too. “De-Clutter” s more than just a buzzword for sellng Tupperware Totes.

    When I frst started wrtng ths post, I had n mnd some dea of tallyng up the tme I spend dong ordnary chores, just as you menton. Whle I’m only an assstant to my wfe’s brave efforts, my tme spent on cleanng and fxng and other daly “stuff” s well over a dozen hours a week. Yeah, I’d rather wrte, too!

    You’ve found great heapng gobs of tme n your lfe, Tammy, for wrtng. I’ve read your frst novel and a large porton of your current work-n-progress (whch s wonderful, by the way). I also have an dea of how much tme you’ve nvested n edtng and revsons. Where have you found that tme? Was there any key part of your lfe you had to alter to make that happen?

  14. Tamara Narayan says:

    Yes, the key to wrtng s the age of your chldren. As mne are n school all day, provded they are not ll, I have no excuses because I have no job. Yet t’s amazng how much tme I frtter away readng, shoppng, volunteerng, and so on. When I started my frst novel, my husband took our youngest, then one, on a two-hour shoppng adventure on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It wasn’t much, but over the months, a frst draft was produced. The year after that, she started pre-school. It’s my humble opnon that no matter what your crcumstances, f somethng s vtal to your happness, you wll do t, come hell or drty dshes.

    • H Tammy :)
      I can soooo relate to your comments…
      My kds are pretty much grown now. I’m fndng that between famly tme and wrtng tme, lfe smply does what t wll. Would gladly gve up some of my wrtng tme for more famly tme. They grow up so fast, and t’s truly specal when all the schedules mesh and all of us actually get to hang out together….rare these days, between kds school, jobs and socal lves.

      As for chores…they come and go … all the tme … they ple up and then the ples dsappear n a never endng cycle, only to reappear when I’m smack dab n the mddle of wrtng… I get to them when I get to them, and no one seems to mnd. You know what they say about keepng Mom happy, after all, and that’s a pretty good deal for me around here :)

  15. Jim Bessey says:

    I thnk you naled t, Tammy, at least for me:

    By blockng out a specfc tme on a regular bass, and dentfyng that tme as “Novel Wrtng Tme” (and nothng else), you can accomplsh the task by fathful devoton.
    As you have shown, by dedcatng two hours a day two days a week, you can make ncredble progress — as long as you have the patence and determnaton to stck by t. Hmm, sounds lke a formula for success n just about any endeavor, doesn’t t? :-)

    Thanks agan for sharng your valuable experence, Tammy!

  16. Love ths dscusson. You’ve managed to turn your comments nto a sort of forum, Jm. Ths s what every wrter strves for n support of the communty. You’ve managed your tme well both n wrtng and communcatng. Great work and you should be commended. (Whch was my ntent. 😉

  17. Jm – You sad t all! Thank you. As an artst ths dscusson comes up all tme. Plus the dscusson about how much money t costs us to create our art. And when you are not earnng back the money plus the lack of tme we thnk of quttng from tme to tme. But as one of my fellow artst sad “But then I thnk of lfe wthout my art…then I contnue creatng”. I really dentfed wth ths post because most of us (me) have day jobs, famly, commtments, frends, pets, communty that all take peces of tme. But we MUST create – there s not another opton. Thank you.

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Nce to know we are not alone, sn’t t, Jane?

      The drve to “create” s often an ntruson and an nconvenence, when t’s not make us creatvely wealthy, of course. :-) No matter what, creatve outpourngs are good mnd medcne for whatever als you. Thanks for stoppng n, Jane!

  18. Great post, Jm, and I couldn’t agree more. Facebook, Twtter, bloggng, LnkedIn, Pnterest…HUGE drans on tme – roncally, drans we’re encouraged by publshers, etc., to jon. I’ve spent tme lately “unjonng” most of the stuff I orgnally joned. Twtter and FB wll stay, though, because lke you, I’ve reconnected wth many old frends and met new ones. Now I just have to dscplne myself so I can get some wrtng done!

    • Jim Bessey says:

      “…drans we’re encouraged by publshers to jon” s rght, Melnda!

      You gotta network, buld your platform, connect wth your audence…all that. Plus have a frst-class author webste, and buld an emal lst of readers and fans. Oh, yeah — “and get busy wrtng; you’re on a deadlne, you know!”

      Wouldn’t t be great f Lfe had a Pause Button? :-)

  19. Petra Newman says:

    Great artcle Jm
    I thnk every wrter has experenced ths dlemma. I admre all the wrters who have wrtten a book. It lterally s a work of blood, sweat and tears, sacrfce, frustraton and dsappontment. Often a wrter feels lonely, nsecure and ntmdated. Lke gong through a hard, brthng canal, the process can be panful. You wonder what drves them; ther masochstc desre to wrte words on paper. The answer s passon. Lke the salmon who suffer unbelevable obstacles swmmng upstream; so s the wrter drven to wrte. It’s a natural nstnct he/she was born wth. They can’t help t, lke an addcton to a drug, when they’re not wrtng, ther thnkng about wrtng.
    So I wrte amdst chaos and nose n my ktchen. Dnner s cookng on the stove, grandchldren dogs, husband all need my attenton. Sleep . . . what’s that? Every wakng moment I have I try to wrte. And yes t s all n nano-seconds. Needless to say, I have a number of unfnshed manuscrpts collectng dust n the closet. So I applaud all the wrters out there. Well done.?

    • Jim Bessey says:

      My lfe s n some ways smlar to yours, Petra.

      But you have somethng I do not: “a number of unfnshed manuscrpts collectng dust n the closet”. So let’s talk about that. How many s a number? How close are they to complete? Are they any good? Among them, do you have a favorte?

      And the most mportant queston of all: What’s stoppng you from choosng ONE, fnshng t, and movng forward as a novelst?

      I’m not askng these questons dly, Petra, or to poke at you. I thnk the answers matter to all of us as wrters.

  20. Rdculous story there. What happened after?

    Take care!

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  1. […] These days, wth dozens of dgtal dstractons, wrters have to physcally block out tme to wrte. It hasn’t always been ths way, of course. When I frst started wrtng, we ddn’t e…  […]

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