History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

When Do You Write?

Open books and pencilsDuring ECCC, I ran into one of my friends who I don’t see all that often, and we wound up hanging out for the majority of Saturday. While we were having a late lunch, he mentioned wanting to write but never having time for it, and he asked how I got so much done with my writing while holding down a full-time job, running a craft business and a magazine, and having hobbies.

I told him that my main trick was that I write during my lunch break, and that I’d finished a first draft of a novel in about nine weeks by doing so. Aside from that, I write three nights a week, and at least part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays.

In this friend’s case, he said his lunch break was when he socializes with co-workers and reads the news. He also has a million other things going on in the evenings and on weekends. For him, like a lot of people, giving up that much free time is something they’re unwilling or unable to do. But I’ve decided that I’d rather spend my free time writing. It means I’m behind on DOZENS of TV shows and haven’t seen several new popular movies. For me, that’s an acceptable trade off that reflects my own priorities. And there’s nothing wrong with having different priorities.

The trick, however, is that if you want to write, you have to make the time for it, one way or another. For some people, it means getting up early or staying up late. For others, it means squeezing in even fifteen minutes (or more) wherever you can find it.

But even if you only manage a single page a day (roughly 250 words, or so my documents tell me), you could have 365 pages in a year. And that’s WAY longer than my books tend to run in draft format (or even in finished format). Even a page a week would add up, especially if you’re writing short stories instead of novels. It just ends up being about making writing a priority for you, and then keeping it in that position, even when you could be doing other things that are less work.

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