Making Time To Write

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Making Time To Write

The path from wanting to write to having written is in the writing. It's not in the dreaming, the planning, or the research. Writers write, it's as simple as that.

Some people write every day, others don't. I write in bursts. I work as a freelancer, and both my personality and my professional life demand alternation. Once I accepted this, I was able to find a rhythm that works for me. Deadlines help. When I know I'm entering a phase where other obligations will demand a great deal of my attention, I enroll in a writing class just to have a deadline. My husband, who's also a freelancer, writes new materials daily. He keeps a log and won't go to bed until he can make a note in it for that day. While I admire his disciplined style, I have my own way of doing things. He is he, and I am I.

First, determine what writing rhythms work best for you. Try writing every day. Try writing twice a week or only on the weekends. Try time limits and page limits. Try early mornings, try after midnight. Once you've discovered your preferences, be ruthless about protecting your writing time. Schedule it like any other important appointment, and then keep it. Do whatever it takes. Close your door, disconnect your phone, ask someone to mind the kids. But sit down at the scheduled time until you complete what you said you would. Just you and the blank page. Without distractions.

Write even if you can't think of anything to write about. The biggest mistake you can make is to wait for inspiration. In what other line do you have the luxury of waiting until you feel like it to get busy? Whoever asked a heart surgeon if he felt like doing a triple bypass, or an airline pilot if he was in the mood to fly to Cincinnati? What if your waitress didn't bring you your food because she was waiting for inspiration?

Just write, whether you feel like it or not. If you're lucky, your fingers will fly across the keyboard effortlessly. If you're not, the session must take place all the same. Heart surgery involves blood. Waitressing involves sore feet. Writing involves producing pages. That's just the way it is. Love it or hate it, that's what a writer does.



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