One of the biggest challenges writers face (that is before finding an agent, finding a publisher, editing to the publishers specifications and then marketing the crap out of your manuscript) is finding the time and the motivation to write. It seems like a grand joke that the universe plays on us. If we have time to write, our minds are as blank as freshly driven snow that hasn’t been peed on yet. But when we finally have the motivation, the inspiration and the focus… we can’t find the time.
Whether you are caring for a family, climbing the career ladder or just trying to make ends meet, finding time to hit the page can be a challenging venture. Here are a few suggestions. Skip the evening news and use that time to write. I can sum up what you will miss: the economy sucks, another pedestrian got hit and tomorrow will be sunny with a chance of spontaneous combustion. If you have already cut television out of your daily routine, maybe use your bathroom time. No, I’m not suggesting you stop doing that, but maybe bring a small laptop in there with you. Just make sure you don’t answer any Skype calls. If none of that appeals to you, perhaps just train yourself to write while other things are going on. Kids playing on the floor? Write. Lunch break at work? Write. Dinner in the oven? Write.
But what about finding the motivation and the inspiration to create a story from thin air? This is something that I myself am struggling with right now. As a committed practitioner of Yoga, I recently picked up a book called The Journey From The Center To The Page by Jeff Davis. He suggests approaching your writing practice as you do your yoga practice – with a clear intention. Instead of sitting down in front of your computer and waiting for a white clad muse to pop out of your USB port, you need to ask yourself “What am I writing for?” Are you looking to sort out personal problems, make peace with an incident in your past, entertain your reader or create a fictional world for your characters to play in? Whatever the reason, discovering why you write should inspire you to do so. No muses required.
Once you’ve set an intention, take a few deep breaths to settle into the practice of writing. You can even bust out of a few yoga poses to prime your body and your brain. Once you’ve done your breathing exercises, sit down at your computer and write something. Anything.
Davis suggests beginning with a 3-60-15 schedule to ease yourself into a regular writing practice. This means that for the next 15 days, you will write 3 times per week for 1 hour a pop. In the scheme of things, this is nothing. I am committing to this “trial period” to get my writing practice back on track. Will you join me?