When we hear the word ‘balance’ then add writing and life, an author could almost laugh. It’s a bit of a facetious statement.
When I started writing my children were very young, five and three. So I scheduled my writing time after they went to bed around nine and wrote until two or three in the morning. But, that’s not to say I never wrote during the day – because I did. My office space was in our front living room (because we never used it, we always used the huge family room to the back of the house facing the mountains) and my desk faced the hallway toward the bedrooms. The kids, and their friends, came in and out of that front door – past me – how many times a day?
I set rules and explained they could wave at me, but if they didn’t have anything really important to ask or say, they could just walk on by and not interrupt. It’s called respect when someone is busy working on something that is important to them. It took some time, but they actually got it. I think my husband became the biggest offender of interrupting for ‘non-important’ things.
I’ve said in other articles, my kids now laugh about falling asleep to the clicking of my keyboard . . . and of course there are the hilarious stories of them listening to my printer’s endless buzzing and snapping back and forth . . . and how they waited for it to stop so they could go back to sleep.
Writing time should be designated, planned, and a habit. When we steal more time to write we have to fit it into the whirlwind around us. I find I can now write just about anywhere, with just about anything happening around me. I’ve come a long way from the days when I used to say, “Unless it’s completely quiet – I can’t concentrate to write.”
I write for me and everything else I do for the family. I think my husband and kids respected my need and passion for writing more than family and friends. No matter what I told them, they felt this was one time-consuming hobby. I ignored them because I knew how much it meant to me to see my name on the cover of a book(s). In order to accomplish my goals I had to put my butt in the chair and write.
So what happens when the words slow down . . . and you just know the problem will be solved, you just aren’t sure how. I stop writing. Yep, I go to bed that night and pick up my story in my mind and visualize the scene. I believe my subconscious works out the story while I sleep. The next time I sit down to write, the words flow – the characters pick up where they left off and they continue on their journey.
Another point I’d like to make is – like anything else – you have to learn the process of writing. Yes, you can just sit down and write, but there is more to it than that. You have to know about characterization, plotting, how to create a scene, pacing, motive, etc. Even the most experienced writers still hone their craft. If you’re not willing to learn and be opened-minded enough to listen to ways to improve your writing skills, you’ll never improve. We’ve all heard the comment, “You’re only as good as your next book.” Well it’s true.
Be sure to take advantage of basic (then advanced) writing courses and seminars. Apply what you’ve learned and write the best book you can . . . each and every time.
If you’re passionate about writing (and once the bug has bitten you – there’s no turning back) you must make it as important as family movie night or tucking the kids into bed. Make time for the things that you want to do and love . . . do it for you.