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Time: Waiting in Vain   by Lee Emory

If you are a busy person trying to wait for the right time or enough time to write, then you may have a long wait.

Most authors today have to manage time to write around their day jobs, raising children, caring for a husband or other family members. So where does the time come from? When do you sleep? More importantly, when do you have time for just you?

Too often I hear someone say to me they don't have time to read. I want to punch their lights out. It's nonsense. Time is what you make it. No one ever said time management is always easy; it most assuredly is not.

My own writing career began when I was quite young and raising two kids of my own, and four of my husband's children. I was also working a full time job. Sometimes the time I spent writing was the only thing that saved my sanity.

For this to even be possible, I forced myself (yes, forced) to set aside two hours a day just for me, so I could write. Many times I had to work overtime on my other job or even work weekends, so my two hours was not always possible if I was to stay healthy with adequate sleep. Fortunately that didn't happen too often. The children were well warned by both me and their father that to interrupt me during those two hours just might be tantamount to committing suicide. We figured they didn't want to do that and

 


 

 
 

 we were quite right.

Staying focused on a story with a houseful of noisy kids is a challenge I wouldn't want to wish on anyone, but it can be done. If you're serious about writing, then do it. For many years I had to work this way. It took a great deal of energy and discipline. This is called leading a full life, I believe. Admittedly youth has flown now, but I'm still writing, running a business with four divisions and coordinating 50 to 80 authors at all times.

If you don't have the energy it takes, then it's recommended you have a close look at your nutritional habits. Proper nutrition is a must. Too much pizza, cokes, hamburgers, fries and chips will do nothing for you except make you fat and lethargic. Too much sugar fat and carbohydrates is detrimental to the brain's ability to function in top form. One multiple vitamin pill a day won't cut it either. I'm talking serious nutrition here.

To write well your mind must be clear and unfettered. That means if you set aside a certain time of the day to write, you must be adamant about enforcing your privacy. MAKE the time. You're the only one who can do that.

 

Maintaining Continuity

If you are working overtime on the job all week, then set aside two hours during your day(s) off when you are not to be disturbed. If you are unfortunate enough to have extremely limited time to write due to an outside job or demanding family, then how on earth can you keep the momentum going in your fiction writing? It was a problem for me in the beginning, but I soon learned I must conquer the problem or go nuts.

What worked for me, after trying several things, was by taking a tip from Ernest Hemingway. When he quit writing for the day, he typed a word or an unfinished sentence and left it there to find the next day. It helped him to refocus where he needed to go in the writing instead of sitting there staring at a blank page unable to get the trials of the day job or other distractions to clear his mind. He didn't forget where he wanted to go. Making himself finish that sentence, usually enabled him to keep writing for whatever time he had to spare that day. Very good advice and it worked for me.

Now and then I still use this tip, but it's not as necessary now because I've been doing this for so long it's almost second nature. No more kids around to distract me, these days, and when I'm writing I don't even answer the phone. It's death to an author's creativity to allow distractions during that time. Because I own and run this publishing company by myself, I have only Sundays in which to write. God help you if you interrupt me on that day. I'm bad. I'm really bad!

If Hemingway's tip doesn't work for you, sit in front of the computer and warm up by typing something like, The red fox jumped over the hedge and ate a cucumber that gave him gas, or anything impromptu and silly just to put words on paper. In a minute or two you'll be ready to go. You can even try the impromptu writing using the names of some of your characters in silly or not so silly ways to warm up. The point is, staring at a blank screen does not a writer make.

If you're young, raising children and the house catches fire, grab the kid in one arm and your computer hard drive in the other and get out fast. Never lose your computer and all of your hard work to a fire if it can be prevented. I'm saying, in a smart-aleck way, that your writing should be as precious to you as your family. It deserves to be very high indeed on your priority list. If it's not, then perhaps you are not really a writer, or you can't wrap your mind around the importance of that concept.

 

Spousal Help or Hindrance?

It would be remiss of me if I didn't mention this item. Does your spouse support your desire and time you set aside to write? Or is he/she completely incapable of relating to this facet of your very soul? A spouse can either make or break an author with regard to allowing time away from them to pursue the author's dreams of writing and getting published. This is fodder for an entire article all its own, so I will only touch on it here.

Authors who have non-supportive spouses where writing is concerned may as well have an anchor clamped to their neck, choking the life out of them with every step they take. If you're a writer, it's part of you and it must be free to create without ridicule from that person trying to kick your self-esteem down in the basement all the time. I had one like that once. He's history.

Authors who have supportive spouses, like me, are allowed the freedom to do what we must, just as I give my spouse the freedom he needs to do what he loves best. We are both very busy people, but the time we spend together is quality of the top drawer kind.

Click. Work. Collect.Choosing the Right Style

Will designating time for your writing change your lifestyle? Maybe. If so, you may be very resistant to making the necessary adjustments to do what your writer's mind urges you to do. Saying, "I don't have the time I need to write," is nonsense, just as it is for people to say they have no time to read. Folks we have the same number of hours in every day we've always had. So if you don't find the time to write, it's your lifestyle and/or your mindset interfering; it isn't that no time is available to you unless you make it so. Don't be a pussycat. Stand your ground and MAKE time. If I could raise six children, work a full-time day job and still make time to write for two hours a day, don't tell me you can't.

So get tough and make it happen. Guys and gals, time waits for no one and it won't wait for you either. C'mon now. How serious are you about making time to write?


 

 

About the Author

Lee Emory is an author of ten novels, numerous short stories and articles, who is also a professional editor for 40 years. She is the owner of/Senior Editor for Treble Heart Books Publishing. Lee teaches writing workshops and speaks at numerous writers' conferences. Visit Treble Heart Books or email leeemory@earthlink.net to learn more.