Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | August 5, 2013

Finding the time to write part x

I got home from work close to ten o’clock PM today. It’s fifteen minutes after that now.

I’m a software developer and we’ve just had a major release go out this past weekend.  Things were broke that needed to be fixed and everything’s an emergency.  After doing this all day, I had to tell my boss that tonight wasn’t a good night for an all-nighter a few hours ago.  I didn’t get the impression that my announcement was met with enthusiasm, but I felt that there was more coming and it would be better to get at the job again in the morning with fresh eyes.

So I came home “early”, and my eyes aren’t fresh.  Nor is my brain.

Is *this* what writing gets?  All that’s left over from a burn-out type of day?

The answer is a resounding yes.  Love it when you hate it.

That’s real easy to type.

How does everybody do this?  My first inclination is to let the feelings out through some character.  I may need to jump ahead to another part of the story to do it, but so be it.  Start out with a character who works somewhere…I don’t know, say a florist’s shop where a witch coven operates out of the basement (probably my favorite concept) and is complaining about doing unseemly chores instead of cool spells or something.

Whatever the scene is, it needs to start with angry dialogue and keep going.  REAL easy to do, in my present mental state.

But that’s my first approach.  What does everybody else do?

How about a change of scenery to change your mind?  Go to a coffee shop or cafe to have dinner instead of staying home.  Take your mind out of your present state by physically going somewhere else.  Have a small meal, then write.

I know a writer who told me he wrote in their parked car.  Why?  Because it worked and it was easy.  This can be done at home or work.

I remember being told once that it was a good studying technique to change your location for each segment of whatever it is that you’re studying.  You can do the same thing with writing.  The more odd the location, the more singular the experience is for writing.  Write in the basement next to the washer while sitting on the floor.  When you’re done a certain amount, change locations.  The next one might be in the bathtub with no water.  Okay, that’s crazy, but I was actually told that for studying techniques and you have to admit that it might actually work.

Then again, there’s always good old-fashioned discipline, where you give yourself a lift by taking your bad day and writing anyway, despite the obvious inclination to allow the burnout of the day to keep you from writing.  I’ve done that a few times and can attest to the major positive feeling I got after writing a thousand words.

Another method, similar to changing your scenery, is to change your method of writing.  Instead of getting out the computer, get out a notepad and a good pen (that won’t give you carpal tunnel after ten minutes) and write longhand.  This is very liberating if you haven’t tried it.  For one thing, you tend to not worry about your font, or any of the cursed revision-while-writing syndrome.  There are a number of writers that only write longhand after they first experienced it.

A number of popular writers and artists have proclaimed variants on the following statement: the muse loves a <blank> where the last bit is some synonym of “busy-body”.  Whatever your method, keep busy with it.

I just did this blog post, and now I’m loosened up.  Maybe my character won’t be so angry now. 😉

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  1. […] 12. Finding Time To Write […]

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