I recently attended a Lighthouse writers workshop in Denver called “Finding Time to Write”, taught by Erika Krouse. Finding the time hasn’t exactly been my problem this year, but the workshop was designed to help writers find the rituals and habit making patterns they need to get them writing every day.
When I was working a regular 8-to-5 job, I had time constraints that somehow made it easier to focus on the writing when I only had 30 minutes or so to work on it. Many days I was too exhausted to even write for this short amount of time, but I could tell myself that some day I would be able to leave this job and I would have all the time I needed.
Well, that day came last December and I am blessed with the time to write but it has taken me some months to figure out what kind of writer I am. Do I need a regular routine? Do I need more time to day dream and write when inspiration strikes? Do I need to reward myself for sitting in my desk chair? Do I need rituals to put myself into the right mindset to write? How do I hammer down the fear I feel every time I tell myself it is time to write?
Some of my problem was also the fact that some of the work I do to pay the grocery bills involves web content writing, which is a completely different mind set from fiction writing, but it feels the same to my body as I’m sitting at the desk in front of the blank computer screen trying to think up words.
There is no formula for how to make oneself get to the desk every day and work while waiting for the muse. The answer is different for everyone and we all approach this problem uniquely. However, I will share with you what I have learned about myself.
I have two times of day when I am best able to write. First thing in the morning and later in the evening after dinner. In the mornings, if I treat the fiction writing like a job, get showered and dressed and start writing without first checking my email (which is just a huge time suck), then I am most productive and efficient. I feel professional, and this is an especially excellent time to do some editing.
In the evenings, I feel most creative and unlimited. For some reason my internal editor turns itself off when the sun goes down and I feel like I can be myself without recriminations and be brilliant at it. (I’m writing this post in the evening and I feel brilliant – I’ll see what my editor-self says in the morning).
My money making work I try keep to mid-day and I absolutely need a break between the fiction work and the web content work. I have found that it helps to write these articles while standing up at my kitchen counter and not sitting at my desk where I do my fiction.
So, I’m juggling my daily schedule and my writing needs around this new knowledge of myself and I hope it leads to a lot of production. I have big goals to meet over the next few years and the only thing stopping me is myself. I’m still working at hammering down the fear, but bit by bit, it is getting smaller and smaller.