I really enjoyed the right article at the right time. The fun of devouring a new magazine when you get it is one I look forward to, though this one had to wait about three weeks before I finally got to it with all the recent moving about and RVing. But once I finally did, the first words I read hit right in the writers heart. The first article in whole only continued such an “All The Feels.”
Amy Sue Nathan’s article in Writer’s Digest; Writer’s WorkBook touched on the majors we need to work and live our regular lives (so we can at least afford ramen) and still write (so we can feed our souls, passions, and dreams.)
“Writing is done in the time we make, not the time we find.” This opening one was enough…enough said…so …yes! But then she goes on and it’s really just right on the money. The artice incudes other authors thoughts (I, BTW, love when one author speaks of other Authors they admire or read) and tips. But more than anything it is that it says “Do it your own way” rather than tells you how you should do it.
With Nano coming up for thousands and thousands of writers as one example of the ‘regular folk’ who write a novel, this is just good timing on…finding time. “What if we want or need more room in our lives for writing?” the article asks, to which, even as a full time writer I found a good question since even with all 24 hours of a day I still somehow lose hours to write. Even the article authors own ways of planning a lunch out with friends and keeping her writing time sacred is one I do myself anymore and yet….time…not enough hours.
Sometimes writing my way ‘out of boredom’ rather than into it is as simple for me as switching up from my laptop to pen and paper, or taking a walk and a fresh cup of coffee, or changing my location of sitting from dining table to outdoors because I tend to find myself get bored, my eye’s get heavy from looking at a screen and I feel tired even though I really am well rested. It’s the computer screen of sometimes ‘office sitting’ (equivilent to a cubicle anywhere you are) that can do this to me. For me at times finding a noisy coffee shop surrounded by busy people helps because I then feed off that bussiness busy feel and perk up a bit (aside from the espresso.)
I LOVE a section where the article takes direction into what times of day work best for doing what as a writer. Writing is SO NOT just sitting and writing a story. There is an entire To Do list of ‘work’ that goes into our writing. There is research of what we are writing. There is, even for the best writer, spell checking and vocabulary checking. There is editing…rewriting, edit…this one is a never ending cycle right there. There is knowing the How Where What Who’s on the publishing world. Where do you even begin if you are newest to the game to the Who is best for this when you have a little more experience but then HOW each you submit to wants it submitted alone can take up an entire week of work (full-time and for only one piece of work.) Preparing and sending…an entire other full-time weeks worth.
Submitting is far from simply copy/paste/push a button. Oh how easy that would be…or if each publication you send every piece to or each publisher you send every manuscript to had the SAME submitting instructions and want list from you?
But they have an evil little plan on that one.
There is even getting your format just right from time to time that can take up all of your time. Or transferring to another computer to print (often printing at home is much more hassle and costly than taking it to a printing shop) and then all the formatting you did goes to hell no matter how SAME the programs on all machines. Where did it go wrong? There is another little evil plan right there.
And if you do print at home right when you have only your last ten minutes to get it done and sent out THAT day with some sort of need or another, your printers ink has decided to dry up, run out…and the paper jams! The printer always wins even when determined not to let it. That is a fact of life. Or you end up two sheets short of how much paper you need. For fucks sake. Printers are the bain of my existence (once as a manager I had a day lined up of interviews and had this frustration. My even get into an interview at all became “fix this problem with the printer.”)
Or there are those fun moments when your computer suddenly acts all catty wonka like. Anything from you swear it has a mind of it’s own and just feels like sleeping in to a full on episode of a poltergeist. And it takes everything not to throw that machine that holds all of your precious work right out the window.
Tears?! Oh yes. Many. If you see a person walking down a street just crying openly, my guess is that chances are they might be a writer who had such a problem and just had to walk away for a moment.
Then you find a publisher/agent/editor whichever need you are at for the moment…and let the back and forth begin!
Time? To just sip my coffee and write over a beautiful view? I am more often found cursing at my screen, walking away in a madness and scrubbing over already clean dishes! My neighbors likely think I am in a fight with my lover as I shout obscenities over my shoulder toward my computer for a good hour before I settle back down and try again.
Where was I? Oh yes, and so the article here in the Fall issue of Writer’s Digest; Writer’s Workbook by Amy Sue Nathan comes to an area which speaks of a particular time of day which might for writing, when other times work better for the ‘work’ such as editing. This reminds me of many articles that come out of the best time of day for your creativity vs task work.
I also enjoyed the direction this article took when David Abrams speaks of giving up his blogging…as a writer you now MUST have a blog, twitter, Facebook page, Instagram and whatnot…your platform. As publishers still run on old ways, writers are who take the brunt of keeping up with the new. Abrams’ “–But it took me over, mentally and physically, in terms of time spent at the keyboard.” This takes time away from writing…or even wanting to write your actual book.
The article speaks of the word count accountability. This one also did not work for me. Rather the actual hours spent on writing over reading was where I began marking my page…I did note word count or ‘finished chapter 6’ in these notes and basically an accountability log…nothing strict but something daily and loose to see that I was doing something.
Staying off of messinging friends or facebook and reading up on news becomes another situation we writers must handle. Really not only writing but in all office business everywhere this is a more and more talked about subject or situation. How much time is actually put to real work? So when I ‘sit at my desk’ I make it time for work. When I want to take time for reading, news, friends I sit in a location that has nothing to do with my work, laptop in hand, to make separation. But it is still a required discipline, as is finding time to write at all. When I worked at a restaurant a couple of summers, like Amy Sue Nathan, I found myself too tired after a summer time double shift in a tourist location. Too tired before and after, barely enough energy to haul myself to work, much less write. I even began reading rarely. I can’t imagine the writer’s who raise children, work a job, and still find the time. That is a feat I bow down to them for and try and seek their wisdom of…however the answers are usually “I’ve no idea.” Sometimes we don’t get hours and hours but must try and turn our attention only minutes by minutes. Focus?! when you just got off the phone yelling at your internet company and then try and shift your mind completely to story at hand? Oy!
People are surprised that I chose to turn my phone off for awhile (after breaking it to begin with anyway) and that awhile turned into three seasons (and counting!)
The article let me know it was not just me, but also reminded me of a few adjustments to take…and I am now set back slightly on path. If they can do it, so can I. But thanks be to Writer’s Digest for such the articles as these reminders will be needed from time to time.