Wow, it’s been ages since my last post!!! To be honest, I haven’t been blogging as much because I haven’t really felt like it. I mean, I have a ton of topics in mind, but every time I go to write a blog post, I feel like I could be using the time to keep revising my Faerie Story.
But, I do have a lot of posts that I want to write and I will get to it eventually 😀
Today I want to talk about time constraints with writing. My original goal for revising Draft 3 of Faerie Story was to be done by the end of December. And while I thought that was a reasonable goal at the time, it turns out it isn’t going to work. I haven’t talked about it much, but I got a new job about two months ago and since then I’ve had very little time for writing (and everything else). I’m working about 30 hours a week now, which is still considered part-time, but having only worked about 17 hours a week at my last job, I’ve found that it is a real time-sucker. Which is super disappointing. I mean, I really am liking my job and I looooooove having money to spend on books and whatnot, but it really has made finding time to write really difficult.
Another reason why my goal won’t be working is, well, because it turns out I’m (once again) rewriting my story. This doesn’t bother me too much because I’m loving the changes I’m making to my story and I know it’s going to be stronger for it, but that does mean that it’s taking a lot longer to get through this draft than I had initially thought, which is why I had to revise my goal.
Because of these two factors, revising has been very slow going. There really is nothing wrong with that, but I’m used to working on my story a lot more and now that I can’t, I’m frustrated that I’m not making as much progress as I would like. I’m about a fifth of the way through revising my novel (?) and it feels like I’ve been revising forever. I’m also annoyed with myself because I feel like a lot of the time I’m not utilizing all the time I could be with my writing. How many hours do I spend checking social media (Twitter and Instagram in particular seem to be my downfall)? How many hours do I waste
And another thing about revising that I’m struggling with: It’s stop and go. I’m used to drafting where you pound out words no matter how bad they are and just go, go, go and don’t look back. Revising on the other hand, require a lot more finesse than just simply tapping away on that keyboard. Sometimes you have to rewrite an entire chapter (or an entire story in my case). Sometimes it takes you two days to write a new chapter, compared to the 3K you could pound out during drafting. Sometimes you only have to tweak a few words and–tada! Your work here is done (hahaha, that scenario is, extremely rare for me, by the way :)). Other times, you have to stop and brainstorm because it turns you got a great new idea you want to implement or maybe you’re really stuck because that idea you thought was really great isn’t working out on paper. But the point is, revising takes a lot more thinking and a lot more mulling than drafting does.
But one thing I really, truly believe in is that there is no such thing is “I don’t have time” for something. Okay, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, when someone (*ahem*, I) says that, it usually means that they’re not really willing to make the time to do whatever it is. Example: I’ve been telling myself that I don’t have time to go to the gym. Is that completely true? No, I could definitely make time to go to the gym everyday if I really wanted to. But the thing is, my priority usually falls to writing. So instead of going to the gym, I’ve been using that time to write. It’s not really that I don’t have time, it’s that I’d rather do something else during that time. It’s the same thing even if I wasn’t writing. Maybe I say I don’t have time to go to the gym because I really just want to stay home and watch tv. Maybe I say I don’t have time because I don’t really want to go to the gym (ummm.. might be a little guilty of this). But like I said, I know I could be utilizing my time better and really focusing on writing when writing is supposed to be happening. So I question the days when I say to myself that I didn’t have time to write. Is that really true or did I not really want to write because: I was tired, I was sleepy, I didn’t really feel like writing that day.
So long story short, I want to share some tips/things that I want to try to utilize my time better and overall be more productive during the times that I am writing!
1.Wake up earlier in the day/ Start writing first thing in the morning.
This one might be a hard one because many days I have to get up early (around 6am or so) to get to work on time. However, I know that if I made an effort to wake up earlier, even just ten, fifteen minutes, I could use that time to write.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that I have a much better time, motivation-wise, with writing, is if I start early in the day–in fact, as early as possible. I feel like my head is in the story and I’m much more likely to stay in the story throughout the day and be ready to write when I do have some time. In contrast, the later I start in the day with writing, the harder it seems to be. So knowing this, I want to try and make it my goal and write first thing in the morning.
However, challenges I’ll have with this is that I won’t have much time in the mornings (usually) to get much revising in. Since revising does require me to do a lot of rereading and analyzing, I find that I don’t get much actual writing done in ten minutes time, but it won’t hurt to try, right?
2. Active Daydreaming.
Some days, work can be really busy and I won’t have time to think about my story. However, some slow days, I could be utilizing some downtime when, say, I’m folding laundry or something, to brainstorm and daydream. Daydreaming, I found can be really helpful. I like to visualize what I’m going to write that day and it helps because: 1. It helps my head stay in the story and 2. It (usually) makes it easier when I’m actually writing/revising that scene I thought about.
Brainstorming during downtime can also be very useful. If I have a plot inconsistencies, or if I’m trying to work out plot problems and figuring things out, why not do that when I have some time at work? Brainstorming can take a lot of time and work/brain power, so utilize all the time you have for brainstorming whether that be in the car when you’re driving (although be careful not to get too distracted!) or making dinner or walking your dog.
3. Less time on the Internet and Social Media.
Let’s face, I really love social media and the internet, but I find myself spending waaaaaay too much time on these suckers. I know I do this a lot when my writing is dragging or when I don’t feel like writing. This is another hard one, but I really do want to focus on not using the internet to waste my writing time and I really want to focus on writing when I’m writing (instead of getting distracted and doing other things).
4. Make Goals.
During my lovely writers’ retreat to Colorado a few weeks ago (post to come!), we had a big poster board where we wrote down all our goals for that day and I loved doing that! I think it’s very useful to have a solid goal that you’re shooting for. It gives you something (somewhat) tangible to work with and there is an awesome sense of satisfaction of being able to meet your goal and check that off the list!
A challenge I’ve had with this is that I find it really hard to make goals for revising. Sometimes I make a goal, “Revise 1 chapter”, but find that it just isn’t going to work because it’s taking a lot longer than I had thought. At times like those, it can be really disappointing to have not met your goal. But hey! As long as you were productive and really worked that day, it’s okay! Revise your goal and keep up the good work! But really be honest with yourself: Did you not meet your goal because you were procrastinating and spending too much time on social media? Or did you truly work hard and focus on your story, but just wasn’t enough time to finish that chapter?
5. Utilize every minute you have.
I have a tendency to say “I’m not going to write right now because I don’t have enough time to get really get into my story.”And it’s true! I tend to a do a lot better when I have a lot of time and can really focus on my story for long periods of time rather than short bursts. However, with a job and other errands to run, you might not have a long period of time to write. And I’d much rather get something done in ten minutes than nothing at all the entire day.
6. Don’t Make Excuses.
I am a real pro at this. I say “I’m too tired to write,”or, “I’ll write right after watching this show.”Maybe sometimes you really are too tired to write, maybe sometimes you need a little break with an episode of Friends. But just be aware when you truly need this versus when you’re making excuses and procrastinating because you don’t really want to write.
All right! There they are! What are your guys’ tips on utilizing time well? I’d love to hear if you have any!!