3 S.R. Johannes: Guest Post: Finding Pockets of Writing Time (by Julie Duck)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Guest Post: Finding Pockets of Writing Time (by Julie Duck)

The winner of my yascavengerhunt is Jenny at tea4my3@gmail.com. Please email me at shelli@srjohannes.com. You have 24 hours to claim.

Blue team winner is Jay Uppal from UK.

Today is the first day of guest posts covering me while I'm on vacation. Thank you to everyone who sent in posts. It was awesome. I will return to blogging Monday, April 16th.

Guest Post Schedule:
4/2 - Finding writing time (Julie Duck)
4/4 - Tacking revisions (Robin reul)
4/6 - The art of self pubbing (Allison Moon)
4/9 - Book trailers (Becki)
4/11 - Marketing postcards (Caroline Rose)
4/13 - Link sharing in publicity (Imogen Reed)


Finding Those Invisible Pockets of Writing Time

I know of several latent writers who sigh when I tell them I spent the night writing. They usually say, “I want to do that, but I don’t have the time.” I can relate to this statement, which is false, because I must have said it myself 255 times (oddball number for good measure) during the 20 years I spent not writing fiction.

Why is it false? Because there are pockets of time that writers can put their hands into, in order to get things done. Just like taking small steps toward a weight loss goal, a writer can accomplish a great deal by grasping the concept of “little bits” and making it work. Here are a few ways you can find those invisible pockets of time to concept, write, edit and swoon over your stories:

When the kids are taking a bath - You can sit in the bathroom with them, or nearby and hash out ideas and plots. You can even take your laptop or tablet in there with you, although I don’t recommend it because bath time is often tsunami time as well.

Early in the morning – Okay, so you’ll need to make an extra big pot of coffee and be “very, very quiet” to do this, but jumping out of bed to write can not only help you get that precious time in, but start your day on the “write” foot. I think it’s better to write in the morning than exercise, much to my doctor’s chagrin.

Lunch time – Why on earth would you want to write while you’re trying to eat a sandwich and do it all in 60 minutes or less? Because writing is like eating – you have to do it. Your workday break can give you the pocket in which to put a few hundred words, a page here, a page there. It can only put you ahead (make sure you keep all sodas away from the keyboard).

In the dead of night – This is when I write, and I’ll admit it is hard sometimes to sit down, clear out the mind and go for it. You might be tired, but there’s no better way to wake up your brain than write at night. Plus, you can take the excitement of your story to bed with you, which serves to make you feel eager to do it again the next day. If you’re lucky, you might even dream about what comes next in your story.

Waiting – Got a doctor’s appointment? Writing is a better way to spend time in the lobby than reading a mottled copy of Good Housekeeping. Take a pad of paper with you, or your tablet. I’ve put more words down while waiting for medical tests and doctors than I can recall.

Most of all, don’t stuff your pockets with monumental writing goals that make you feel pressured. If you tell yourself that it’s “4,000 words a day or bust,” you’ll only feel like you can’t do it, which is likely because, in reality, most of us cannot. Simply take things in stride, find the moments that work for getting the words in, and the story will unfold before your eyes.

Contributor Bio

Sometimes it takes a swift kick to start doing what you love. For Julie Rieman Duck, it was more like a full body slam. A health scare and loss of her editing job put Julie square in front of a choice: Do what I love, or do nothing? The decision to write again after 20 years of shelving her voice brought about edgy young adult novels, such as the recently released A Place In This Life  and SWELL, little rooms and soon-to-be-released The Joy & Torture of Joshua James.

Today, Julie bounces between copywriting by day, fiction writing by night and never compromising her love for the written word. You can visit her at:


Charmaine Clancy said...

Good ideas - I took my kids to the movies today to watch The Lorax and sat outside their theatre with my laptop. Gave me 2hrs of uninterrupted writing time.
Wagging Tales

Cortney Pearson said...

Love these! I totally do the bathtub thing!! :D I've also heard people ask how I have time to write, but I try and Make the time. :) 24 usable hours in every day!!

Kimberlee Turley said...

I really am already out of time. I'm doing all those things and then some-like, I have crayons in the shower to write down story ideas or tomorrow's grocery list.

I bought a kitchen cookbook stand--not for cooking, but so I can have something to hold a book open while I'm doing the dishes.

Robin Reul said...

Great post! Sometimes it is hard to find the time, but I like to grant myself a little "grace period" by at least trying to fill some of the pockets where I can't write by trying to do something in service of my book. That could be researching by reading something as small as a relevant article to something bigger like reading on the couch next to my daughter, but it's a book in the same vein as what I'm trying to write. This gets my mind churning so that when the window to write does present itself, my head is full of ideas. I try and keep to a schedule while the kids are at school, but sometimes it comes just in that weekend hour before everyone else wakes up, or during a piano lesson. You gotta take what you can and not drive yourself crazy. As my husband reminds me constantly, even if you only write a paragraph, it's a paragraph that didn't exist the day before.

Linda Jackson said...

Great post, Julie. And you are so right. I have completed manuscripts while waiting at basketball practices, sitting in the car-line waiting to pick up kids from school, staying up late, etc. If we want to write, we will find the time. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to mostly get small chunks of writing time - it's amazing what you can think about in 10 minutes!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips and essential when you're trying to squeeze in writing and working and family.