How do you find the time to sit down with an uncluttered house, an uncluttered schedule – an uncluttered mind? Is there such a thing? From my view point, I don’t think that reality actually exists. Life itself, it seems as we mature and take on more responsibilities, has a way of continually piling on more and on more obligations. Whether it’s an employed position where we are constantly taking on more work, children and their social activities, etc., or other unseen or unplanned responsibilities. The house is in disarray, doctor appointments looming overhead, a medical emergency – everyone has countless distractions in their normal, everyday life.
My own personal life involves caring for two elderly parents with major health issues, two children in college, running a small sheep and horse farm with my husband and managing our household and businesses. Finding opportunities to make the time to sit down and write is a unique and independent journey that each individuals has to figure out on their own. But here are some ideas and suggestions that I have found helpful over the last few years:
-Knowing where you do your best work and finding that area. Do you like the ambiance of a cozy coffee shop where you can watch people and listen to dialogue? Maybe curling on your favorite chair in the corner of your living room where you can find peace and quiet away from the rest of the family. Or being directly in the middle of the chaotic activity is the best place to draw out your ideas. I find that I can work well in a variety of spaces, but only in short bursts. Not one to sit for any length in one place, I do best at sputtering out ideas then go to the barn and chew on that thought for a while and revisit to it later. If I need to spend time flushing or working on an article that will take a few hours, I normally seek out a quiet area away from the action.
-Training yourself to make time to write every day. Writing down in your appointment book works great. Schedule your writing time. Make a commitment. Even if at first you have no idea what you’re going to write at the start, making the commitment to at least sit down for ten minutes a day and brain storm will help you make the action a habit. Write about anything. The ideas will eventually come.
-Having the tools available. Everyone has a different writing style and opinion of how they like to jot their thoughts down. Do you prefer a PC all the time, everywhere? Or do you like to carry a tablet and pen? Do you like to use the note features on your cell phone to capture an idea or will having a small notepad in your car or purse or on the nightstand beside the bed get the job done? Make sure you have the right tools for you, that make it easy for you. I found either keeping my cell phone or a small notepad beside the bed helped me – some of my best ideas come through late at night. There have been times that I was too lazy to write down a really cool idea believing I would remember it the next mornings. Those thoughts are totally lost to me now.
-Keeping good notes. It has been very helpful to me to keep solid notes on all of the places, characters, timelines, etc., that happens within my stories. Although I keep the original and main file on my laptop, I also print them off and have some handwritten notes that keep in a hanging file in my office. These hard copy notes have been referenced many times and sometimes I find myself jotting down more notes in the margins of these copies.
-Enlisting the help of classes or a work-shop to help keep you on track. I can’t stress this point enough. If you need help staying on track, figuring out your next goal(s) or you just need feedback, having an instructor help you organize your writing can be a godsend. I would never have had the wherewithal to stay on track and meet a deadline if it hadn’t been for joining the Year of the Book writing workshops. I not only learned how to organize and become a better writer, I became a published author with many ideas to craft on. The camaraderie, working with other writers was also great fun. Hearing their highs and lows, pitfalls and triumphant moments help you understand it’s all part of the same process for everyone.
I hope a few of these ideas will help you along your journey. Relatively new on my path as writer, I still have much to learn. Please leave feedback on what you have found to help you become a more organized writer. Appreciate you stopping by!