Thursday, June 19, 2014
TAKE TIME TO WRITE BY RITA KARNOPP
If I’ve heard it once . . . I’ve heard it a million times – “I just don’t have time to write!” That’s the number one excuse why people don’t finish writing their book. It’s a prime example of procrastination. You make time to go fishing, the movies, shopping, out to dinner . . . hmmm . . . but you can’t make time to write?
It’s hard work – yes, and it takes self-discipline and passion to write. That’s the plain truth. It’s not easy to leave the world behind and shut yourself off in your office, close the door, and put your butt in the chair and write.
So you must ask yourself the hard question. Do you really want to write your book? How important is it to you? If you can’t answer immediately . . . stop . . . decide this . . . Will I be upset if you don’t ever write my book? If the answer is ‘yes’ then you’ve got to make some changes in your life to make time to write.
See, this is where it got me! I truly wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. It became my passion. It became important enough to schedule writing into my already busy schedule. Without a goal . . . without a plan . . . without determination and passion – you’ll never get your book written.
Make writing a priority. Soon I started saying things like; I do cooking and cleaning for the family, but I write for me. I just finished my sixteenth book, Whispering Wind. It took hard work, tenacity, and a willingness to give up the time it takes to write.
I know writers who write, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite the same manuscript . . . for years. Others are inundated with so many ideas that they’ve written the first page of fifty books. It’s sad to say, but this process will never get your book written. I again add this behavior, or lack thereof, to the word procrastination.
If you truly want to finish your first book . . . then another . . . and again another, you have to make some serious changes to your life plan (if you have a plan at all). We’re all busy and every writer out there knows what sacrifices it takes to type ‘the end.’
So how do you ‘find time to write’ when you already have a full schedule? Well, there’s only one way to decide if there is time – be honest and write down everything you do each day for two weeks. Now write these commitments on a two-week calendar. What things do you do that are ‘necessary,’ i.e. kids sports, meals, grocery shopping, yard work, laundry, cleaning house, church, job, pets, appointments, etc. Okay, now what is on your calendar that’s wasted time? Come on – you know there are spaces that can be turned into ‘writing time.’
How badly do you want it? My sister-in-law has told me for over forty years now that she will ‘one day write a book.’ I think she may be the least supportive of all my family . . . and I think it’s because I’m doing what she has wanted to do. I work full-time – she doesn’t and never has. Yet, I’m starting my seventeenth book and she’s still dreaming about it.
If you really want to see your name on the cover of a book you have to do more than just dream about it.
Start by learning ‘what is the best time for you to write.’ I’m not just talking about on the calendar – but when are you able to concentrate and write productively? Some people can only write early in the morning. My time is late at night …and into the wee hours of the morning. I can put my day behind me and really lose myself in my characters. The kids joke they fell to sleep with the sound of ‘click . . . click . . . click . . . of my keyboard.
Once you find your best time for writing, be consistent, and create a new habit for that specific time frame. Don't make excuses why you can’t write. Do you make excuses why you can’t show up for work on time? Well, if you do – you won’t keep that job! Writing is a commitment. Period.
Think about this; women have more time available to us now than any other time in history. Say what? Think about doing laundry for eight to ten hours in a day on a washboard or hours of cutting wood to have a warm house and a hot stove. Don’t forget the endless hours of ironing – if you want the neighbors to know how much you care about your family and how they look. the same applies to men, who in the same respect waste unbelievable time. I could go on and on. But the fact remains we squander so much time.
Look at your schedule and decide what’s important. What really needs to be done and how can you streamline more time into your schedule with less effort. This will be a real shocker – trust me.
It’s actually a good idea to keep track of how much time you give yourself to write. I now have a mental time-clock for my writing hours. No less than two hours of writing – after I get home from my full-time job. No less than four hours each day over the weekend. You can be sure, most days I write more than my minimum. The story takes over my characters . . . and the time flies as fast as my fingers on the keyboard!
This all boils down to ‘making time to write – and scheduling it into your life.’ If writing is important to you, do it for you. Only you can make this happen. You have to take charge of your time and fit into each day what makes you happy. If part of that happiness is writing – I have no doubt you’ll be writing many books in the years to come!