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Making Time to Write

Making time to write, as opposed to finding time, has long been a theme of mine, as any of my students can tell you.

If you are really serious about being a writer, (as who of us are not?), you make necessary changes in your life. IMO, the most important change is making sure you are prepared to write when the moment comes. Warning: These suggestions might not work for you. Use what you can.

A writer needs a base of operations, a room, place, nook or corner that belongs exclusively to him/her. A computer and printer on a desk or table, a good chair, a lamp; these are the absolute minimum items necessary to create your own space.

Let everyone know how much of this space you are willing to share. Educate your significant other and your children. Rule One? When you are writing, you must not be disturbed. Copious bleeding, a fire in the house, a terrorist attack. These events are acceptable interruptions.

Remind them that your writing will not take a lot of time. I suggest a planned hour a day at first, then several times a day or night, working around your personal life schedule. My students were always astounded at the amount of text they could produce in a ten minute writing exercise. I’d give them a one or two-sentence situation statement and a couple of characters and set the timer. They would read what they had written aloud. These exercises were fun and popular with my students.

Which reminds me, and this is important. Plan what you will be working on. Always, always, carry a pen and a tiny notebook. Make notes, make lots of notes. Napkins are handy when you’re eating out. A small recorder is wonderful for saving ideas. Know what you’re going to write when you assume the position. That’s BIC—butt in chair!

Earn your family’s respect by your day in, day out dedication to sheer hard work. When they see your persistence, they will know you are serious about turning yourself into a published writer. They will understand your drive to learn and your desire to refine your writing skills. They will see that you need to be with other writers. Translation: Regular writer’s meetings and occasional writer’s conferences.

Warn them you probably won’t be making money for awhile. If they love you enough, they will become unselfish enablers instead of obstacles. Otherwise, I’d say somebody needs a serious attitude adjustment. And hey! I’m sure you are just the gal or guy who can do that. Stand up for what you deserve. When you do publish, they will be so proud.
Make a time and place to write and do it. Write. Don’t play games—write. You can do it, I know you can.

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