Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness Check-In Day 20 #WIPMadness

If there's one thing I'm convinced of when it comes to writers, it's this: There is no such thing as writer with too much free time.

Every single writer I talk to, one of their biggest battles to finishing a project is finding the time to do it. Why is that? Because writing is the biggest time-sucking profession/hobby that exists! Often I think we are all crazy to be pursuing such goals. I mean, think of how long it takes just to READ a book, let alone write one. Then think of the time spent revising, the time spent waiting for critique partners and beta readers to give you feedback. And I'm not even going to touch on the length of time the whole publishing side of things can take (because I don't want to depress you!)


So writers, I think, will never feel like they have enough time. They always want to be able to draft and develop their writing projects faster. But I also think this is part of what makes the written word--especially full-length novels--so special. So much thought and processing and bake-time goes into each one. Reading a good novel will envelop us and stick with us the rest of our lives. So there are rewards. But today I want to talk a little bit about battling the busyness.

If you find yourself too busy to have the amount of writing time that you would like, I have a few suggestions that will hopefully add some peace to your life:

  1. My first suggestion, which all of you here at March Madness already have a handle on, is not to do it alone. Having camaraderie and accountability and encouragement is SO IMPORTANT when it comes to pushing through on the long haul of writing. It's good to remember that we're not alone and we ALL face similar time challenges from time to time.
  2. Admit that writing is your dream and passion. People around you will be much more supportive and willing to help you find the time and space to write when you use words like “dream” or “calling” or “passion”.
  3. Stay sensible in what you commit to. I notice that writers who set big lofty goals with their writing, also tend to set big lofty goals in every other area of their lives. Something has to give, so when you set a short-deadlined writing goal such as March Madness, see if there are other areas where you can ask for help or allow obligations to pend until April.
  4. Even when you're busy with other things, try to keep your head in your project. Brainstorm when you're at the grocery store, or driving your children around, or commuting to and from work. Write down all of your ideas for later (or use a voice recording app if you're driving). Brainstorming and coming up with the best ideas is a big part of the writing process, and one you can accomplish almost  anywhere and any time.
And if you disagree with this whole post and are shaking your head saying, "I'm a writer, and I have plenty of spare time," then please, PLEASE, tell us your secret!

No matter where you are at, keep pushing forward! And I'll see you tomorrow at Tonette's Blog!

29 comments:

  1. Oh wow, Denise. What a fabulous post for this week! First, I adore the image you used up there. It projects my exact feelings most days. On my Twitter bio, I state I drink coffee and eat Goldfish and pickles while I write, although, not all at the same time. In the image she's downing a pot of coffee while a bag of Goldfish is in the other hand. The only thing she's missing is a pickle jar! Lol. Before you all laugh your heads off, let me explain the pickle thing. Pickles make me peppy and perky. So, when I'm feeling rundown, and I need a quick pick-me-up, I run for the dill pickle slices. They are my mental dose of smelling salts. :D Afterwards, I get a sudden burst of energy and I'm ready for another round in the chair.

    Suggestion #4 is my fav. I find my head stays in the novel nearly all day long, no matter what I'm doing. A lot of my sparkly ideas happen when I'm driving. Half the time my voice app doesn't work, so I pull over, open an email to myself and dictate notes as I drive. At the end, I hit send, and they're there waiting for me when I get home.

    Hope everyone is feeling great about their goals this month. Don't be too hard on yourself. Pat yourself on the back for the work you have gotten done. Reevaluate your original goal and set a smaller one. Find the success in what you've already accomplished thus far! If you need some cheering on, shout out on Twitter. I may not be on all the time, but if you include my name, it'll email me. I'll answer from my phone wherever I am. :)

    You can do it!!! Go #teamwipsters

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    1. I'll have to try dill pickles, Candi! I'm often looking for a writing re-charge of some kind, and it would be so nice if I could find something that will not incur a lot of calories or drunkenness! LOL.

      Great to hear about how you get through the busy times and that you are keeping steady with your goals this month, Candi. We love having you here with us!

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  2. What a lovely post, D. Very practical. My writing time emerged yesterday because my dinner guests were an hour late! They were embarrassed, but I was thrilled--gave me the time I needed to make my goal for the day. ˆ+^ You never know where the time will emerge, but if you're ready for it, you take advantage. Thanks for organizing the Madness. Go, Wipsters!

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    1. I love that story, Angi, and it makes me think of so many times that an unexpected writing time has happened for me too. Why do we always focus on the time that seems to be stolen away from us and forget to focus on the gifts? That is a good word for me. And to be ready for the gifts when they come!

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  3. Hi there!
    I've been quiet but focused for the last week! As of yesterday the 19th, i reached a total of 22,298 words--almost at the low end of my goal of 30k-50k for this month. Thanks #WIPMarchMadness and Write or Die app, lol!

    On the 17th I had my lowest word count, but I spent the day sorting the scenes I had written, both what I've done during March, and the original set of scenes I wrote for Nano 2012. I decided to use #WIPMM to finish it up; so I wanted to evaluate what scenes were "missing" still--try to fill up plot holes, at least for now, and worry about revising later. I'm aiming for a100k words total, so that I've getting plenty of room for revision.
    Thanks for the support! It's been great!
    Kat

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    1. Glad to hear you're making steady progress, Kat, and that MM has been a help to you! Keep at it! There are still eleven days left this month.

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  4. Great post, Denise! Love #3 and #4. Once you get into the habit of letting your mind continually churn on your book project, it becomes a natural part of your day (or night). My best thinking time is right before I go to sleep! When I let my mind relax and consider all the different scenarios of what could happen in my story, I usually come up with a unique hook or interesting angle. Sometimes, I will even dream of a clever idea or the solution to a problem in my WIP. Happy writing, everyone, and sweet dreams!

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    1. Interesting, Trudi! I think I do my best book-thinking first thing in the morning. It's amazing the plot problems that get worked out in that groggy state of mine! Happy writing back to you!

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  5. I went back up to read your post---#4 oddly enough--is the hardest for me! Weird. Thank you for that post--I have a tendency to get into my own head and forget there are others out there supporting me. Thank you for the reminder!
    Kat

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  6. So true on making too lofty goals and then being mega disappointed if it doesn't pan out. Back in 2008 my big goal was to sign with an agent(almost did a couple times) and then get a traditional book deal. Neither panned out. I was so disappointed and a part of me thought, "Why bother?" Then I went back and read the comments I documented on feedback I received on Crossed Out. There was some very positive ones including how talented I was to not give up. Funny how you 'forget' comments like that and dwell on just the fact you were rejected. One of my writing buds just got a traditional book deal after spending over 10 years getting there. As a matter of fact I share two of her small press publishers so I'm hoping I'll be next. But that won't happen if I give up, will it? Writing a book is the easy part. It's what comes next. You need to do numerous revisions that at times seem unending. You put your heart and soul out there and yes, sometimes the feedback feels brutal at the time, but you develop a tougher skin and continue on. This biz isn't for the faint of heart.

    Happy writing Wipsters! We can do this!

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    1. It's a crazy, crazy business, isn't it, Kim? I'm so sorry to hear about your disappointments. I think anyone who has pursued publication in any real way has had to face some pretty major disappointment. One thing that I've learned for myself is not to make goals that are dependent on other people. I can only do what I can do, and it can be SO FRUSTRATING if I'm relying on agents or editors or even family members to help make my dreams come true. Anyway, I wish you all the absolute best, Kim, as you continue to do everything in your power to pursue your goals, and for not losing heart! It does take a tough soul...

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    2. You nailed it, Denise. You can't really base goals on someone else but rather do the best you can with the project you're working on. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  7. I decided to hit Deadboy, my Noir urban fantasy with a vengeance. Right now, I'm trying to get past a spot that I previously wrote really well, but lost when the power went out (I also have a glitchy PC and it eats my work if I don't rename it every time). So I'm trying to get the feel of it back. I know I'm not going to be able to finish it by the end of the month, but I'm going to shoot for 1000 words a day for the rest of the month...after I get past this spot. It's not my usual speed, but I'll take what I can get.

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    1. Oh, gosh, I HATE your glitchy PC on your behalf, Daniel! That must be frustrating, but I'm glad to hear you've found a way around it. I'm sure once you get into the flow, you'll work your way up to your usual speed. Here's to hoping that happens quickly for you.

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  8. I've always been the type to get myself involved in many things and eventually over-committed, so learning to say "no" was important. It's still a struggle sometimes, but I'm better than I used to be at valuing my writing time (making it a priority and not feeling guilty about it!).

    #1 is such a huge thing -- knowing I'm not alone makes all the difference in the world! Friendship, support, critiques, sounding boards, understanding, encouragement...the list goes on! All things that I've received from my writing community, and hopefully also given back.

    I also relate to #4 -- I do tend to keep my head in my project when I'm in the midst of a story. I love to go for long walks, and that's always a good time to work through plot problems, etc., especially when I leave my iPod at home. :)

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    1. Yes, you've definitely given back, Shari! Over and over again, and I'm so glad to have you as part of my writing community.

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  9. I've learned to ignore those who ask what I really do at night. So I forgot to check in when you started this! But I'd already gotten a head start, so I'm sort of cheating. I started my rough draft in mid-January. Now I'm at 62,000 words. My goal is to finish the rough in March. It may take a long Saturday or two, but the story's flowing now. Don't let me forget to check in again!

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    1. So you want me to hound you on Facebook? Because I WILL.

      It's definitely not too late to join in on the fun here, Ron. Glad you've checked in now and I have high hopes of you finishing your draft this month (If only selfish authors wouldn't keep sending you stuff to read...)

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  10. You're so right when you say something has to give. I'm still learning to find the right balance that works for me. So far, setting small goals seems to work better for me vs going after huge goals.
    Thank You.

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    1. Glad to hear you're figuring out what works for you. I hope you find little gifts of extra writing time throughout the rest of the month.

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  11. Have been more productive this week than I was last week, but that's not saying much. However, onwards and upwards! I've sorted out the job situation (for now anyway), so that stress is off for the moment, which will hopefully help the words flow. I REALLY want to shop this at SIWC in October, so I need to put everything I have into it so it sparkles!! Thank goodness for all of you, giving me the long-distance motivation to do so!

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    1. Glad to hear you're pushing on, Jenn! And we do continue year-round under the hashtag #wipmadness, so don't worry, we'll make sure you get there one way or the other. ;)

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  12. Great post Denise. I'm a little late checking in as it is 1:30 am and I just realized I hadn't checked in yet.

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    1. Yeah, it is a little late, but I'm hoping it's because you were so caught up in your writing project. ;)

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  13. Excellent tips (and count me in on the late-checkin train, sigh).

    For me, what I've noticed is that the thing that is giving this time around is March Madness itself. Not that I don't have goals, but that they've shifted so dramatically, I've been forced to re-prioritize. But I feel happy with the changes, and that's what matters most, IMHO.

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    1. Yes, glad to hear you're happy with the reorganization, Laura. We're glad you're here in whatever capacity you can be...

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  14. I wonder where Shari got her 'over-committed' gene! Ha! Learning to say no without feeling guilty takes so much effort, but it's necessary for self-preservation, never mind preservation of writing time. At various stages of my life my priorities have been different, and I find it's necessary to re-evaluate them periodically... determine what's important to me and those around me at a particular time. In retirement I thought I'd have unlimited time available to do everything, but for some reason that's turned out not to be the case! LOL!

    This is a late check-in but at least I'm here now. I spent most of Thursday catching up on critiques in preparation for my writing group that meets here this afternoon (Friday), so not a lot of my own writing happened. It won't today, either, but I expect to get in a couple hours this evening.

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    1. Hope your critique meeting went well, Carol!

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