Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's About Time

Now that my family and I are nearing the end of the complete renovation of our home, I'm free to pick up where I left off with my writing. However, life is crazy most days and I'm having a hard time finding time. I'm hoping you can inspire me.
  • When is your best writing time?
  • Do you stick to a schedule or are you spontaneous?
  • Where do you write?
  • How do you deal with distractions?
  • Anything else?
A dear friend and fellow writer, Angie Lofthouse, gave me a framed quote as a house-warming gift the other day. It says:
Inspiration is the act of pulling up a chair to the writing desk.
I love the simplicity of this thought, that if you just take the first step, everything else will follow.



Amanda Bonilla said...

There's no time that isn't good for me to write. I write non-stop during the day when I'm home alone and then in the evenings I just leave my WIP open and while I'm puttering around the house I think about where I am. If inspiration-- a sentence, a paragraph, whatever-- forms, I run to my chair and type like a fiend. If there's too much noise, or a lot going on it can distract me and if that's the case I'll write down my ideas in a notebook and revisit them during the day when everyone's gone.

Tess said...

I'm a night owl, so after the kids are tucked in is a good writing time for me. I have friends who do the morning thing -- but I don't drink coffee, so that's not an option - lol.

Like the new blog look!

Katie Ganshert said...

I'm an early bird. I get up super early, spend some time with God, then get to typin'! I love starting the day this way! How fun you get to continue on with #4! I hope you find a writing time that works for you! The only advice I would for sure try to stick to: write every day! No excused - even if it's only for five minutes - writer every day. :)

JPM said...

I get most of my writing done after the kids are in bed...so, like from 9:30-? (usually 12:00 or so)...but I write snippets of my story wherever I can..on scraps of paper in the car, at red lights, while waiting for my food at a restaraunt, at breaks during work, etc, etc..The only schedule I stick to is to try and make sure I write every day (a little or a lot, but at least something). As far as distractions..I just think of my goals, and my finished book on the shelf, where I want to be and I tell myself that in order for that to happen I need to do my part..and that is: WRITE...BIC (Butt in Chair)...plus, it is helpful to have conversations like this with other writers and to draw inspiration and encouragement from one another!

Bunny Hills said...

It's a little harder now that I have a 7 month old baby! Still trying to get back into a routine, but I find in the face of very little time and too much to do in it I need to gather my thoughts and focus on what is needed to be done. Which is good for me because I tend to get distracted by anything, tangible or not! The archaic meaning of inspire is to breathe; it's fitting, isn't it? I try to think of what it is that needs to be done and focus on that. Otherwise, I'll be sitting around on Facebook all day...or at least for the hour that the baby is asleep.
Uh-oh, he's waking up...

Carol Anne Strange said...

Hi Suzy,

Congratulations on nearing the completion of your house renovation.

At the moment, I'm writing late evening and into the early hours. This is working out well for me.

As for suggestions, I'd say just start writing - even if it's simply jotting down notes or random thoughts. I'm sure you'll soon find your writing pace again. x

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

That is such an awesome quote! I have to admit that I start the process even before pulling the chair to the desk. I daydream about each scene before I got to bed or first thing in the morning and then during the boys' naps, I take the time to write. I sometimes write in the evenings as well, but I try to reserve that time for my husband. The place is always the same too since my computer isn't mobile. If I had handwriting that didn't take me hours to decipher, I would certainly love to be more mobile about where I write, but as it stands typing is the best way for me to go. The problem comes from the many, many distractions that the computer holds! I have gotten to the point where I just let myself get distracted so that the writing never becomes oppressive. I can take five minutes to e-mail and then I just dive back into my story. Sorry, this is a novel of a post...

Stacy Nyikos said...

I have to pull my chair up to my desk everyday. There's something about the routine of it all that gives me hope I'll finish!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Oh, pretty changes to your blog! I write when I can write, period. Mostly it's when my daughter is sleeping. I lose a lot of sleep. Since writing is always on my mind, it naturally works its way up to the top of the list of things to get done. After I mop the floor, of course. :)

I love that quote. It's perfect!

Anonymous said...

* When is your best writing time?

Any time that I'm inspired to write works for me. It's usually in the early morning, or very late at night that I actually get the time to write. I've been able to get some pages in at work too.

* Do you stick to a schedule or are you spontaneous?


* Where do you write?

At the desk, on my bed, at the kitchen table, on my couch... anywhere.

* How do you deal with distractions?

Music, mostly try to ignore anything else.

* Anything else?

If I get stuck on a question I ask other people for their opinion.

Jamie D. said...

Congrats on things settling down again - it must have been hard going through all that!

I think my best time to write is probably late mornings, and late afternoons, though I don't often get to write then since I'm working. So I write at night after the chores are done and we're settled in front of the TV. I try to force myself to write with whatever distractions might be going on (TV, hubby talking, phone ringing, etc) so that I can't use that as an "excuse" not to write. Some nights it works better than others. :-)

I really try to write every night (except Sundays), but don't always make it. I'd love to stick to a hardcore schedule, but hubby is the spontaneous sort, so it seems like every time I get a routine going, he comes up with some way to pull me out of it.

I write here at my desk at work on breaks, in front of the TV or in bed at home, or anywhere else I happen to have the tools. A couple years ago, I wrote several chapters of the novel I'm editing now on a plane to and from Las Vegas on a family vacation - used my PDA and a portable keyboard! I've got a netbook coming today that will make writing in coffee shops or while traveling easier.

My advice would be - just write, whenever, where ever, no matter what distractions are going on. :-)

Great blog, and good luck!

Angie said...

Your blog looks great! I write at night when everyone is in bed, but also anytime throughout the day when I get a chance. Lately, I've been giving my daytime free hours to blogging, critiquing, revising and typing, and doing my writing-writing at night, unless I want to write some other time. I guess you'd call that spontaneous. I write in the writing chair in the office, or at the kitchen table, outside on the grass, in the park, in restaurants, in the car (not while driving), at sporting events, etc. etc. Good old notebook! I've gotten quite skilled at ignoring the "distractions," which can get me into trouble. Oh, and I usually like to have music going.

I can't take credit for the inspiration quote. My mom gave it to me, framed, with the cutest Mary Englebreit picture of a girl at her writing desk, but she's got her feet up on the desk and appears to be daydreaming. Daydreaming counts as writing in my book. I'm doing that practically all the time.

Sheesh. Why don't I just go on for an hour? Maybe I should just make this a blog post of my own.

sweetly lovely afternoon said...

I always carry a journal with me because one never knows when inspiration will come. However, I am an extreme night owl and tend to more productive during the night hours. Also, the stillness of those hours keep distractions to a minimum. I've completed many works after 9 p.m.


Leni Qinan said...

Hi Suzy!

My best writing time is late in the evenings, when everybody's already sleeping, basically from 9,30pm to midnight or 1am. And yes, I lose a lot of sleep too, because I do it every night. But the pleasure of writing is worth it.

I always write at my desk, on my laptop.

Distractions are not that bad -sometimes they might even bring more inspiration- but normally I deal fairly well.

My problem is I constantly have ideas to write about and I need to carry a big notebook in my handbag, to note down everything I should not forget. I read it in the evening and then, start writing again... ;)

Take care.

Caleb said...

i write when i dont procrastinate. i tend to write from the hip: sometimes 15 minutes at a time, sometimes hours at a time. but for the most part, after the kids are in bed...

Jeannette said...

That's a great quote. It's inspiring to hear how everybody manages.

I try to call up inspiration by setting the timer on my phone for 20 minutes every morning. I tell myself: OK, write! I don't know why I let so many things come between me and my desk.... For some reason the timer trick helps.

Another good trick I've stumbled upon is 'homework hour' with my children. I write and they do their homework. Everyone wins!

B.J. Anderson said...

I write in a notebook throughout the day when I'm watching my kids. Then when they go to sleep, I start transferring the stuff from the notebook to the computer. A lot of times, the notebook writings are mostly just a skeleton and I flesh them out in the transfer process.

Suzette Saxton said...

Fantastic advice, guys. Thank you so much for the peek into your writing time. Y'all have inspired me! I've really buckled down and have some momentum going with my project.

Thank you all!

Yamile said...

I also write at night when the kids are in bed, but also I carry a notebook in my purse, and then at night I transfer from my notebook to my computer. My greatest ideas have come to me when I'm driving, so I love having a notebook handy.

IJ said...

Not like I'm a professional writer or anything, but here's my two cents: I have no "best" time to write. I am spontaneous (maybe erratic is a better word), literally as the spirit moves me sometimes. Often I write at home, but when an urge hits me, I gotta grab a pen and get to jotting whether on a train or walking etc.

Since I write whatever drops into my heart, apparent distractions have been known to take on a life of their own and I have left the main story to write about the "distraction" first - lol! I enjoy narrating past real life experiences in a fictional manner as it is therapeutic - healing and refreshing at the same time.

Well done on your home. Gosh, renovations are a humongous project [I'll place you on hold while I peek at the photos] ... oh wow, so beautiful outside that I can imagine such a haven or sanctuary within. Again, well done!

NaomiCartwright said...

Nice quote! At the moment I write whenever I can make the time, which I'm consciously trying to do more and more. So whenever I can squeeze it in around my 9-5...

Jody Hedlund said...

I try to write in the early mornings and after the kiddos are in bed. It's slow, but I've made steady progress and hope to finish my WIP soon.

Millionaire@age20 said...

I kind of agree. When you just start to write, everything else follows.

Robin Lemke said...

Congratulations on the revonvation! We remodeled a bathroom two years ago and I didn't think I'd live through it. ;)

I write late at night when everyone's asleep - or should be!

jb said...

Thank-you for becoming a follower of my humble little blog it is much appreciated. I hope that you have a great week. Also there is no better time to write then right now so keep writing.


Annie Wicking said...

I live in England and the best time of the day for me is 4.00 in the morning. I have a small office upstairs where I work. We painted it in shades of violet and yellow to help my inspiration and it seems to be working as the ideas keep on flowing.

As I work full-time I write long hand in my lunch & tea breaks. I try to write everyday and keep off the internet as much as possible because there are too many distractions on there.

Thank you for dropping in and joining my writers' tea party.

Best wishes

Suzette Saxton said...

I can't thank you all enough. Your words have made all the difference, and I feel like I am finally making serious progress. Every time I felt like slacking off, I thought of all of you and it was actually easy to sit down and get to work. I will be referring to your comments often!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ina said...

I used to believe in writer's block and wrote only when inspiration made an appearance in my consciousness. A year later, I have realized that if I want writing to be my career, I need to treat it like my career.

I no longer believe in writer's block; I write every day, starting in the morning and going until 5pm. If it's going well and I have no other plans, I continue writing. If I feel like I have other things to do that are more important, I call it a day and leave my manuscript for the following morning. Some days I will produce only one page, and other days I will finish entire chapters of my novel. And that's ok. The point is to keep doing it, especially when you get stuck.

I write anywhere; the daybed in the living room, the dining room table, in bed or in the office, depending on where my musician husband has set up camp for the day.

Distractions occur, and I try to not get too uptight about things. If I need to leave my work for an hour so that I can babysit my cousin or buy groceries, that's fine as long as I take a small notebook with me. In my experience, distractions (as long as they don't involve hours of TV and tubs of ice cream) turn out to be helpful in their own ways. That said, my husband and I have made a conscious choice to not own a TV. Since we both work from home, it's simply not worth having such a huge distraction in the next room.

Anything else? Yes! I give myself little deadlines/goals to help motivate me to write. Whether it's writing a new chapter in a day, finishing 50 pages in a week or completing the whole novel by a certain date, I believe that deadlines are neccessary for the self-employed. Otherwise I would spend entirely too much time figuring out what TV shows I can watch for free on my computer :)