Friday, June 7, 2013

5 Tips for Busy Writers

by Jemi Fraser

This is one of those crazy busy times for me. We have provincial testing going on, then report cards and the year end wrap up (we're in school until the end of June here). Add in family, house, friends, coaching and volunteer obligations as well as life in general and I'm busy ... and completely wiped out most of the time.

Sound familiar?

I bet it does. Of course, the details are going to differ, but we're all busy, busy, BUSY. So, how do we fit in our passion for the written word? It's not always easy, but I've found some things that help me. Maybe they'll help you too.

1. Think of time in 10 or 15 minute chunks. Seriously. Looking for a continuous hour or two during the week is impossible for me. If I felt I needed a full hour in order to write, I'd never get anything done. But, if I have a 15 minute window, I grab it and feel good. It's amazing how those 15 minutes add up!

2. Eliminate those quirks. I've heard stories about what some writers need in order to get in the mood to write (a specific drink at hand, a tasty treat, 10 minutes to exercise/stretch/meditate/relax first, a favourite chair or special playlist, ...). Sure, there are some things that help us get into the ultimate writing mode, but because I rarely have time for them, I've learned to live without, and now it doesn't take any time at all to get into the scene.

3. Learn to write with noise. I know! This is probably really, really difficult for some of you, but I think it helps. Although I do find it awkward writing an intimate romantic scene with my son and his buddies in the living room, I've learned to sit in the corner, angle the laptop and type away while still participating in life around me. It probably helps that I prefer background noise to silence in the first place, but you might be surprised too. It's far easier to find a place with a hum of background noise than a place of silence. Embrace it!

4. Leave a scene hanging. It's much harder for me to start a new scene than to finish up a scene I'm in the middle of and loving. That unfinished scene won't let me go, and when I find those 10 minutes, my fingers are ready to fly! Sometimes I even leave myself mid-sentence. Stressful, yes, but I definitely don't need time to get back in the scene when I return to it.

5. Work on your project every day. Or as often as you can. I don't kick myself if I miss a day, but even if I can't get in actual writing time, I get in some thinking time on my story every day. It keeps it alive in my head and gears me up for the time I do have.

Do you use any of those tips? Do you have any more to add?

Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

22 comments:

SC Author said...

Awesome tips. And when I'm TOTALLY at a loss and don't want to write, I do some revising at least :) Just to make SOME progress!

Old Kitty said...

Hi Jemi!! Oh I can't do anything if there is too much noise! Totally can't! LOL!!! That's why I invest on really good headphones!! Take care
x

JeffO said...

I'm mostly okay with writing with noise. I put on headphones and listen to music. But I hate having people behind me when I write, I hate the feeling that someone is looking over my shoulder. That makes me come to a grinding halt. I put a sign up on my desk that reads "Don't Poke The Bear" and that tends to get me a little bit of space.

Jemi Fraser said...

SC - great point! Revising is easier to do in small chunks for me too :)

Old Kitty - headphones are a great idea! I was always the kid who studied bettter with music or tv on too :)

Jeff - When I get a desk I'm definitely going to face it into the room so no one can get behind me!! :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

These are great tips! I think I use all of them....they make so much sense when we're trying to squeeze writing into a busy day.

Marcia said...

I find it really hard to write in small chunks, because I just can't pick up and drop my fictional world that fast. But as for eliminating quirks, absolutely! Conditions don't have to be perfect.

Matt Sinclair said...

I do most of my writing these days on a train, so noise is commonplace. My chief challenge is recognizing when I need to power-down the laptop.

Jemi Fraser said...

Elizabeth - awesome! It is easier to fit in than I originally thought! :)

Marcia - I think I have a bouncy brain and that probably helps with the small chunks part! :)

Matt - I bet that's a biggie! We're in a small city and my commute is about 3 or 4 minutes by car so I don't have that issue :)

Jai said...

Great Tips!!

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks Jai!

Beth Zimmerman said...

I'm putting myself on a schedule this coming week and including time to work on that book that everyone seems to think is hiding in my brain! =)

DMS said...

Love the tips, Jemi! It is a busy time for me, too and juggling everything can get a bit crazy. I like the idea of breaking time into chunks. :)
~Jess

Jemi Fraser said...

Beth - yay!! I'm so glad you're going to give it a try! Hope everything is going well for you :)

Jess - we do become pretty good jugglers, don't we? :)

Cindy Dwyer said...

With two kids running around the house I've been forced to learn to write with noise. I fear someday when they've moved out I won't be able to write in the quiet. But I suspect I be able to readjust.

Jemi Fraser said...

Cindy - I bet you'll figure it out too - and if not, there's always music! :)

Medeia Sharif said...

Great tips. I need to let go of #2's quirks, because sometimes I tell myself I need certain conditions to write when I don't.

Jemi Fraser said...

Medeia - that's how I was earlier on, but as you know life is nuts and there's often no time at all!

Shelley Sly said...

#4 works for me all the time! Lately, I've been leaving off mid-dialogue. Makes it much easier to jump back in. :) Great tips!

Jemi Fraser said...

Shelley - Thanks! Leaving it hanging works well for me too! :)

Sarah Saunders said...

This was a great blog, it all seems like common sense but I have never tried some of those things. Especially breaking time down into 15 minute blocks. I am now thinking I could write in my lunch hour at work.
Thank you so much for you sage advice :D

Jemi Fraser said...

Sarah - thank you! I always find the best tips from other writers - it's amazing how differently we all do things! :)

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