Finding Time to Write


Not long ago, I was asked, "When do you find time to write? My whole day is taken up with my career, kids, housework, church work, etc. I find if I don't write every day I get lazy and let my writing slide, but I simply don't have time for it every day."

I didn't know exactly what kind of advice to offer. Everyone is different.

To me, writing is so important that even if I've been away from it for several days, and in the past it's even been months and years, I feel so compelled to write that I just have to get back to it. I just can't wait to sit get down and pound out my story, even if it's no good (maybe my grandchildren will like it someday).

As for when I find time to write, I try to write at home, but my wife always has plenty of honey-dos for me, so that doesn't always work well. Mostly, I write at work on my breaks at work. I know that doesn't work well for those who like to socialize, but that's never been a big issue with me. I've never felt a need to join with other people to feel fulfilled.

While I like being around people, I'm not what one would call a party-goer. I'm quite content to be alone with my thoughts, and a computer on which to express them. That drives my wife crazy, however. She thinks someday I'll go insane, living in dream world where my only friends are those I write about. That's certainly not going to be the case. I love being around people, especially those with whom I have common interests. I just don't feel a NEED to be around them constantly as she does.

I feel if one wants to write bad enough, he'll find the time, even if it's a minute here and a minute there.

I've read some posts by James McDonald, the popular author of several science fiction novels. He claims that if a writer is to be successful he must be willing to put his "BIC", as he terms it, or "butt in chair" for at least a half hour each day, longer if possible, and do nothing but pound the keyboard. Personally, while I think there is some merit to his advice, I find it too restrictive. Like the person who asked for my advice, I can't always find 30 minutes every day to put my BIC and type away. Sometimes, it's only 10 minutes, some days it's not at all, and other days I find I can devote several hours and have difficulty quitting as the muse becomes very strong and exhilarating. The key, I think is to be consistent. Keep at it, whenever you get the opportunity. Don't be deterred. And stick to one story at a time. I've heard of some writers who keep starting new stories but never finishing any of them (but that's perhaps another issue for another posting).

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

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