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Writing Diaries – Who Has Time to Write?

Writing diaries

I don’t know about you, but I often have difficulty finding the time to write. Between work, family, friends, and the obscene amount of time I spend composing this blog, I’m lucky if I write more than 5000 words a week. This is especially ironic because one of the main reasons I started the blog was to build a platform for my future novel (but has since developed into a passion all its own). It saps up most of my creative energy, leaving me with the constant mental state of “I’ll make up for it tomorrow…”

Writing a novel is difficult for many reasons, but the biggest one is nurturing that motivation to keep going. As most budding writers can relate, it takes a great deal of your free time with few gratifications – even once the story is complete. You have to really want to make it work. I don’t even remember what free time looks like anymore because, if I have a moment to myself, I’m either writing or stressing about writing (which is totally unproductive and not relaxing in the least). The trick is to figure out a schedule that will allow you to feel like you’re making strides within your novel while not placing unreasonable expectations on yourself.

Life gets in the way, and it does your creative energies no good to stress if you don’t have a chance to sit down at the computer every day. When this happens, I’ll take a moment to think about my next scene and maybe jot down some notes in the notebook I always carry with me. Even though I’m not writing, I’m still immersing myself in my story. Doing this allowed my subconscious to continue developing ideas that have led to several “ah-ha” moments throughout the project. I also find it much easier to pick up where I left off when I do this because the ideas have been percolating for days.

So now I have a rhythm down that works for me and my writing processes in all areas but one – when it comes to choosing between blogging and writing, the blog wins every time. They use the same sort of creative mental energy but one gives me instant gratification while the other seems a thankless task. I’ve recently tried to counter this by limiting the amount of posts I do per week to four, rather than the seven I was doing before. It it irritates me to do this because I have enough ideas and content to fill the blog 365 days a year so I’ve had to make some sacrifices. I’ve cut out a book club feature (which took the most effort for the least payoff), limited my other features (such as this one) to be written only after I’ve committed time to my novel for the day, and continued with two book reviews per week. I always see posts from other bloggers explaining why they have slowed down in their content and laugh a bit because I seldom noticed until they pointed it out. I figured the same would be true for my readers. As long as I am consistent with book reviews – the stars of the blog – I’d still be in good shape.

Since I made the change, I’ve noticed a remarkable increase in my amount of creative energy, and am much more able to recognize and take advantage of opportunities to write than I ever have before. Incidentally, my average books read per week has nearly doubled, effectively relieving any stress I felt at having things to review. Overall, it is allowed me to start off NaNoWriMo of with a bang and puts me in a great position to have the first draft of my novel completed by the end of the month… Wish me luck!

 What about you? How do you find the balance between life and writing? What kinds of schedules work for you?

by Niki Hawkes

11 comments on “Writing Diaries – Who Has Time to Write?

  1. At the moment most of my writing is getting done by hand while I’m at work. Because by the time I get home from work the mental energy to actually strain at writing full scenes and dialogue is gone. Sapped. Not to mention I have a list of chores that need to get done… and it just hasn’t been happening. The problem with handwriting things is that my hand swells up to the size of a baseball if done for too long. I’m hoping my household will get a day to deep clean just like you have and I’ll feel much more comfortable spending hours writing again. If the flow in the house isn’t right then there is no write

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    • LOL – I love that saying at the end, and it’s so true! If there’s clutter around I simply can’t focus, end of story. I love the idea of handwriting at work because you have to be there anyway, so why not take advantage of that time. I have tried handwriting recently, but my somewhat crippling wrist injury keeps me from doing too much… it’s a shame, too because it’s so much easier to pick up a notebook and pan then it is to log into the computer for some reason. Kudos to you for finding the time despite exhaustion and a busy schedule – people like you keep me motivated to keep going. :-)

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      • I made it up on the spot. I guess I’m witty. Sometimes. My friend keeps telling me I am. But yes, I hear you on the injury. My only problem is that ideas don’t flow as quickly from my head to a pen as they do to a keyboard. Then what I want to say gets all tangled up in my head, I get frustrated and give up on the whole entire thing. I usually stick to notes by hand. Script writing I find to be easier by hand, though. Most of my comic book script I did by hand, which allowed me some great editing time taking it from paper to word document.

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      • Witty indeed! With this dictation program, I have the total opposite problem! Having to think about saying punctuation marks really throws me off to the point where I think I’m better off just leaving it for later. Also, without having to type, my mind wanders little bit more whereas the pen and paper gives me focus. Isn’t it odd how each of us develop such different methods that work for us?

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  2. Good luck Niki! I think you were right to cut back on the blogging a bit to fit in time for writing. Sometimes blogging can be a real drain on your time and as much as I love it I sometimes have to take a step back. :)

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  3. I loved this post, it felt like I could have written in myself! I started my blog for the same reason and have thought about every single point you mentioned… The only thing stressing me out other than the writing or I should be writing is the amount of review requests still on my read list, I stopped taking review requests in October I think and am still trying to catch up.

    Good luck Niki :) Hopefully I will reach your Zen status quo sooner than later :)

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

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    • Wow – you must of had a ton of requests if you’ve been playing catch-up since October. I admire you for sticking to it though. I will say my new problem keeping me from writing is all the amazing books I’ve been reading… I feel like such a slacker because I’ve done little else. I am glad I’m not the only one who has trouble finding time to write (specifically because of the blog). How often do you managed to work on your story?

      And thank you for the luck – I hope I reach my Zen state soon ha ha. :-)

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      • Not sure what happened with the previous comment, sorry, yes there were quite a few but add new NetGalley titles and some tours I signed up for and it was a mess and an overload!! I haven’t worked on my story for a while but have a new strategy that I am implementing this week – Hope it works :)

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      • I am curious to hear what the strategy is and if it works for you. I am always looking for great tips and ideas to improve my own writing habits. NetGalley has been both wonderful and awful to me these last couple of months because I love the titles but I’m at the point where I am so far behind on reviewing them that I need to just there when the towel on a couple of them.

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