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Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest Post **Finding Time for Writing**

Hello! I would like to take a moment to introduce my friend Beth. She has been gracious enough to write out some AWESOME rules for writing. They will help you get started even if you only have 15 minutes a day to jot down some notes!

Writing can be time consuming. It can be overwhelming for the working mom & dad. Even if you are single, most likely you have a full time job elsewhere. Life is busy! If it is important to you, there must be time for writing. You simply need to find it.


Are you a sprinter or a distance writer? When I first started writing, I read to take advantage of little 15 to 30 minute chunks to write. If that works for you, great, do it. For me, it can take a half hour to get my creative mojo going. I get more done in one four hour chunk, than in eight hours broken up into small segments. Try out both long and short session, and see what works for you. The same is true for when you write. Some people do better getting up early and writing (especially if they have a mentally taxing job), others do better staying up a little later at night.

We make time for the things we love. If you are doing it for fame and fortune and hating every minute of it, you're wasting your time. Writing is frequently a second job. I know writers who have published several novels and still don't make enough to support themselves just with their writing. But they love it so much, they keep doing it.

Writing takes A LOT of time--time you could be doing something else. What are you willing to give up (TV, social media, sleep, time with family), and how much of it you are willing to give up? The trick to achieving a long-lasting balance is to make sure the rewards of writing always outweigh the costs.

Some authors write several books a year; others write one in a lifetime. Five years from now, you will be five years older whether or not you've written a book. I read a book by an author that said he's a writer from 7 to 10 pm on Wednesday nights. Again, it is about balance. Focus on the quality of your writing experience instead of the quantity you produce.

Not all writing is done at a computer. I keep a notebook handy to jot down notes because I'm often crafting a chapter or creating a character while I shop, clean, cook, or drive. Advisory warning (so I don't get sued)--safety first--don't allow yourself to get so lost in your fictional world that you hurt or neglect anyone.

When I started getting serious about writing a novel, I was shocked at how much of the work is editing and not writing. Instead of flinging birds at pigs while you're waiting for an oil change or the kids are playing at the park, print out some pages and edit.

Having someone to hold you accountable for your writing (at least for me) is a must. I love having a critique group and the accompanying deadlines of when I need to finish sections of my book. Find someone who will give you good feedback and a solid kick in the pants if you miss a deadline.

This is more critical if you need a larger chunk of writing time like I do. Trade off chores with a roommate or spouse to open up writing time, even if you lose time when it's your turn to clean, you at least have some dedicated writing time in your schedule. This is even more important if you have kids. Find a friend and take turns watching each others' children. I promise you will get more writing done in one child-free afternoon than you will in two with all of your darling, little helpers. Just remember your writing is important, but if you make it more important than everything anyone else is doing--you will lose their support. I hope to make my writing a career, but for now it is a hobby. I support my family's careers and hobbies and in return they support mine.

9 - READ
I know that telling you to read might seem odd. Won't that take away from your writing time? The best writers are avid readers. Not only will reading improve your writing and keep you up to date on what is being published in your genre, it will inspire your writing. Spending even a few minutes a day with a good book, helps keep me motivated to finish my own.

Not all writing rules may apply to your writing process. I like to try on new techniques but have found some of them aren't mine style. Find a style that is comfortable and works for you.

Happy Writing

E. F. Fewkes is a former journalist. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in Metaphor. She lives in Utah with her husband and daughter. After taking a post-college writing hiatus, she finally figured out how to make time for writing and is finishing her first novel. 

Thanks so much Beth! I can't wait to read your book when it is finished. 

Happy Writing everyone!

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