“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ~Stephen King
About a month ago I read and article that changed the way I write. For the life of me I cannot find it now, but if I come across it at a later date I’ll totally post it. It was about being productive in your writing despite the distractions. Everything I had read up till this point made such a big deal about how to avoid life’s distractions so you can sit in a nice quiet room and write to your heart’s content. unfortunately for most of us that isn’t an option. Which is where I ran into a major pitfall in my writing life. I kept trying to find the time for that perfect quite moment, when the kids were in school or somewhere else. NO television, radio, or internet. Just me and my laptop churning out the genius writing that I knew I was capable of, and guess what? I didn’t seriously write for over a year.
I have ample excuses at my disposal. I have five children. Yes I said five, girls to be exact. Go ahead and take a moment to laugh at me. Are you done? Good, now lets move on. We are a military family that moves every few years; could be anywhere from one year to three years but we are always uprooting ourselves and transplanting to somewhere new. My eight year old daughter has Autism. Which makes the moves much more complicated. She has in-home therapy, and requires a great deal more supervision than most eight year olds. I was so focused on ‘finding the time to write’ that I was missing another fabulous option; I needed to learn how to work around the distractions.
In the article the author saw a friend’s husband, another writer, typing away on his laptop while having a full conversation with them while the kids ran around the house. It was actually easier than I thought, once I got into the right mindset. I was editing my book, revising my synopsis, and brainstorming my elevator pitch while the kids were eating lunch, doing their homework, or even while I sat with one in my lap and they napped. It was like finding time that I never knew existed. The actual creation of the work, the idea driving bulk writing still needs a bit more quiet to happen but I can manage it during nap time, after bedtime, or any 20 minutes I can carve out for myself while the kiddos are playing nicely amongst themselves.
My point is that the excuses aren’t doing you any favors no matter how valid they may be. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. Bottom line. It will take some getting use to but after a little practice, and a fair share of patiences, you’ll be able to utilize time that you thought was impossible.
Stephen King’s book On Writing has some amazing advice.
“Write a lot. I’ve saved the most important tip for last. To become a better writer you probably – and not so surprisingly – need to write more. Many of the best in different fields – Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods – have gone beyond normal limits of practise. And so they reap extraordinary results.But what do you do when you don’t feel like writing? Waiting for inspiration can become a long wait. One good way to get around this is to find an effective solution to reduce procrastination. You may have to try a few before you find one that works for you. Another way is well, just to do it. And if you just get going your emotions change a lot of the time and any initial resistance becomes fun and enthusiasm instead.”
So even when you don’t feel like writing, write. If it’s garbage then toss it out. Getting anything down on paper will help you get into the habit of writing. Taking yourself seriously is important, and your work is important, so start treating yourself like a professional and before you know it you will be one.