Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Life intrudes.

I'm sitting here on this blah, rainy Tuesday morning trying to get motivated to go buy some groceries. I'm in desperate need, you see. However, there's this guilty voice that's saying, you also need to be writing. December cometh! Which is when my book is due to the publisher.

So, rather than do either task, I'm musing about, what's this all about! When I started writing my first novel, about 20 years ago, and no, it hasn't been published. For good reason, I might add. I would cheerfully start writing at 6 a.m. every morning. That allowed a good hour's work before the rest of the house started stirring. I was very productive in those days and the first draft was finished in about 10 months.

Now, I still get up at that hour but instead, I go for a brisk walk for about 50 minutes. I do this for health reasons and also, because it helps me focus for the day. My body actually craves it the few times I must skip doing so. However, I'm no longer doing the family breakfast thing and it's just my two cats who need to be fed and fussed over. So, the writing time should be in abundance...right?

Ahh, but life intrudes at that point. Groceries have to be bought (when it stops raining), lawn mowed, appointments kept, dishes washed, maybe some vacuuming now & then, laundry, more appointments, and fun things, like choir, book club and gal's nights together. But those can require practicing of music, reading of books, and more grocery shopping. And, let us not forget the job, for those still out in the workplace.

So, when to write? And more to the point, is it better to set a work timetable, the same for each day or to write when you're feeling most productive, which could be a different time each day? And, do you write for a set amount of time, word count, page count or such? Or do you write until your brain feels too scrambled to produce something of meaning?

Every writer also has a life. So, how do you deal with it? What do you find to be the best way to just get down and write?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase


  1. oh how well i relate to this story of life's minor necessities becoming mahor tasks that take us from writing to . . . there's no other word for it . . . procrastination! i have a regular routine of this - when i get up, it's check email, check FB, take some vitamins, make breakfast, eat while taking more vitamins, read the NY Times (a 40 year habit), putter putter putter around, perhaps reading a snatch of latest book

    but i have a definite resolve that i must begin work at noon - lately, this resolve has been slippery as i juggle work for CWC, set up interviews with law enforcement people here in Tucson, contact friends for dinner dates, fiddle with my "files" which is to say, try to get a grasp on WRITING THE G-DAMN NOVEL!!!

  2. I hear you, David. In other words, life intrudes!

  3. Sometimes a challenge helps. I've been able to rise to the occasion for NaNoWriMo several times, but perhaps a target of 2000 words a day is too much for sustained production? I mean, you have to stop & edit sometime! That seems to be when reality takes over along with all the small stuff that starts out filling in the cracks & takes on a life of its own. I'm hoping that SIWC will stimulate a little more sustained productivity. I managed to get contest entries in for their deadline & October 21st is approaching quickly.

  4. I agree. Deadlines, whether it be publishing or contest, are really the most effective.
    Editing is a good solution for days where it's really difficult to get anchored to the chair for long bits. It keeps you within the story and hopefully, your sub-conscious is taking it off to new heights.

  5. Everyone's different, but, like Linda, I'm a first thing writer. 6 a.m. or sooner, with the goal of one thousand words. I tried walking/running first thing, but found it allowed life to intrude and the writing didn't happen. I find that writing first, exercise after, often provides a bonus -- you know how the mind gets working when you walk. If your mind is full of the writing you've been doing, new ideas often appear.

  6. I find the only way I get any writing done is to treat it like a job. So after breakfast and my morning walk with Sterling, my dog, I head to my computer, where even if the muse isn't exactly sparking my creativity, I still will endeavour to write. And I stay there for most of the day. I do this four days a week, giving myself Friday's off for good behaviour.