Monday, 15 April 2013

Is Now A Good Time (To Write)?

With the release of my first e-book and having to provide regular updates to this blog, I am finding it increasingly difficult to find time for the most important aspect of being a writer - sitting down and writing new fiction.

The fact is that I have never really been organised in this respect. When I am working on a book, I can swing widely between coming in from work at 5pm and writing straight through until 10pm or simply making excuses to put it off "until later". Sometimes, my most fervent periods of creating prose are fueled by the guilt resulting from this "putting off". I am the writer equivalent of a yo-yo dieter.

So then, when is the best time to write? Some people will set aside at least one hour minimum per day and stick to it religiously. They will often use the same time slot and always make sure that they have a special place designated just for writing. A laptop in front of the television will never do for these types of writers (although that particular set-up is serving me well at this moment). This is a particularly good approach  to take if you are the kind of writer who works to specific goals or deadlines. Want to put down 1,000 words a day? If this is the case, you have to be disciplined and stick to the plan. Missing just once doubles your workload for the next day and it will snowball quickly from then on. Personally, I do not like so rigid a plan.

Like I stated earlier, my own writing pattern fluctuates wildly. I like to wait until I am in "the zone" (insert Britney Spears joke if you will). Writing, like exercise and any other passion, need not always be fun, but it should never be a trial either. If I am not in the mood, then I simply will not write. I have never suffered from the dreaded writer's block, but I still have my off days. Taking a break and doing something else (editing, research or even something non literary related like exercise) can do wonders and not only will you have a fresher perspective when you return to writing, but it also stops exacerbating the problem and risking true writer's block.

Do not worry that you are wasting time by not writing. If it is your true calling, then nothing is ever a waste of time. Every experience and event in life, no matter how trivial can be used by a writer. We are learning all of the time. A writer is never "off the clock". I could be sitting at work, walking to the shops or lying in bed trying to sleep and I still think about characters and plot. That's essentially what writer's are: daydreamers.

So it is important to always have a pen and paper at the ready as you never know when inspiration will hit. Even if you are not prepared, you can still improvise to make sure that no good idea is ever lost. I have written ideas/quotes on shopping receipts, post-its, letters, tissues and when all else fails - the back of my hand. Of course, most writers are much more technologically savvy than I, and this in particular is where the smartphone comes in handy.

So to recap, the message is that there are basically two types of writers. Those that are organised and those that are disorganised and both are equally valid. It is just a matter of discovering which style suits you best. If you are not the type of person that responds well to deadlines then do not set any deadlines. And if you are the type of person who simply likes to write whenever the fancy takes them - do it. Tap the creativity whilst it is there and if it goes, do not worry as it will soon be back.

If you found this post interesting, why not sign up to join my blog using one of the tools on the sidebar to the right. You can also check out my two self published novels The Outback and Stealing Asia. Both are available as ebooks and paperbacks.

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