A Busy Writer

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Have you ever stopped and looked at your life? I don’t mean literally. I mean, looking at everything that you do, everything that happens in your life, the things you can control and the things you can’t. I do it a lot, especially when I can’t sleep, and I wonder about my life.

When my head’s in the game, I’m what I call a busy writer. Usually, I’m  too busy. This is a result of me taking on too many projects all at once, which usually results in a project overload. At the moment, I’ve got a few things going on:

1. I blog here, for a start. Okay, so I tend to miss my posts because of a bad memory, but this is one of the things I do every single week. I won’t even count the weekend job for this.

2. I maintain my own blog and website. Both need regular updating, and when things in my life don’t quite go according to plan, neither gets very much attention.

3. I’m writing a non-fiction book. I’ve only revealed details of it to a few select people, but it’s going to become quite time consuming once I get my head down and write.

4. I have a research paper to write for college. The actual writing isn’t a problem. It’s all the parts before it that are causing me some major delays. As in, I haven’t touched it all summer.

5. I have fictional works to write. Time consuming, and I’ve lost all motivation to do much of late. Once I get back into the game – and it’s all a mindset thing – I’ll be flying through them. Well, not literally. My laptop wouldn’t like that.

6. Learning. I made it quite clear on my blog that I like to learn. This month, I’m supposed to start cooking. So far, nothing, but I do have a fancy new cook book and blog. I just need to get the ingredients and the time to make something. Then I can officially say I’ve started.

I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of anything right now. My point, though, is that when I’m actually in the right frame of mind, managing all these projects and tasks is actually possible. Sure, it involves jumping around from place to place, but seeing the end results really helps to keep up the motivation. When you take on a lot of work, be sure to plan your time to be sure you use it all accordingly. If you’re out of work or school, plan your day in such a way that you’re working from X-Y am/pm, and actually do the work.

Does that seem too hard?

It’s not, if you really care about what you’re doing. This doesn’t just apply to writing, of course, but my limited experience with other hobbies or businesses does hinder the examples I can give you. Just remind yourself that you have something important to do, and set that time in your day-planner to actually do it.

Me? I actually remembered to post this week. Now I need to find something else to do while you get your day planned and get some work done! Make the most of this and every day, and you’ll surprise yourself with how productive you can be!

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Finding Time to Write

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In a cruel twist of both Irony and Fate (the latter’s not actually cruel…) I found myself on the receiving end of a question about writing, particularly about how to avoid procrastination and finding time to write around school work and paid work and sociliasing with friends, and a million and one thousand things (to steal a line from Alex Day’s Holding On) that get in the way of writing.

My blog post, this blog post, was due in yesterday. My excuse for it’s lateness? I had no time to write it. Now, normally I’d laugh at such excuses. “No time to write?” I’d cry out. “Make time!” That’s supposed to sound enthusiastic for writing by the way, not like a drill sergeant being a tool. But yesterday, and Friday, my time was stolen. Now, I’m not complaining about Friday… I got to go to a Muse concert here in Dublin (fantastic, by the way!). That took up a day of writing for NaNoWriMo, and meant I couldn’t prepare this blog post.

Yesterday though… that was a nightmare. I arrived in work a full two hours early. I know, how? Well, my head was so full of madness that I messed up my time table and was in fact due in at twelve, not ten, and was due off at six, not four. So instead I worked from ten until six. You might wonder, then, why I didn’t write when I got home. Simple answer, the honest answer, is that I had mass to attend. I know, I’m putting God before you all. I apologise. But in all seriousness, I was actually singing in the mass in my friend’s choir, so I couldn’t skip it. Then when I got home, I had dinner and was subsequently too tired to even think about remembering something as hugely important as this blog, let alone move from out of the couch.

Now, that twist of Fate! (yes, I give “Fate” a capital letter.) You see, in my vlogging days (i.e. now) I talk about NaNoWriMo to try and encourage mass participation in the event. The people at NaNoWriMo, henceforth called NaNo to save me typing too much, found out about these vlogs. In fact, they were so happy with them that I was asked to do the Daily Q&A for their site! Even today I’m still on the homepage, and my vlog views and subscribers have shot up. Not only that, but my face is out there with someone actually asking for advice via email! Ironic, then, that I had no time to write. (have I said that already?)

So, how do you find time to write? Well, it’s simple – plan to write. Much like you’d plan to see friends or go to work, plan to write. I had planned to write on Friday before seeing my friends, but was instead getting ready for a concert. I got my ticket two hours before the show; I couldn’t plan, so I couldn’t write (I also couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see my favourite  band play live – you can priorotise if you wish; don’t say no to a one-time event so you can write, unless you really have to). Saturday, I planned to write after work, before mass, but couldn’t because I had my time table wrong. I then planned to write after mass, but was too tired to do anything because of work. Today? I slept in because I was so tired from work. I think you’re beginning to see a pattern – plan!

Now, I’m as addicted to the Internet as a lot of people, but there are things you can do to help yourself write. Only look at your favourite sites and forums after writing your daily goal. Don’t play online games. Farmville and Cafe World can wait until after NaNoWriMo. Only watch the shows you want to follow, not just whatever’s on TV. Re-runs are not good for your novel, unless you use them for inspiration and go straight to work afterwards.

When reading, if it’s for pleasure, not school/college, choose something to help you find your voice, or something short that you don’t have to spend hours at, so you can write more later that day.

If you have an English essay due in (or if you speak both English and another language and can clearly understand this, any essay will do), try plan some writing time before it, but leave enough time to get the work done. When you get down to your school stuff then, you’ll be in writing mode! (not good for Maths though, as vocabulary and numbers don’t go hand in hand).

Use your time efficiently. If someone asks you to play a game with them (like Fifa 10), say “no” if you’re behind on your novel, or say “one match” if you really want to play, and make it one match! And when you write, actually write, don’t just sit there looking at a screen.

Now, hope this is helpful, because I have to go and try do some of my own writing! Best of luck with the novels guys!