I am a writer. I’m also a parent, and a teacher, and a friend, and an uncle, and a runner, and a photographer, and . . . In other words, I have a full life. I would love to fill most of my time writing, but reality keeps getting in the way. In order to complete the monumental task of completing a novel, I had to learn a little bit about myself, and you would be wise to do the same.
How do you find the time to write?
Every writer must make some sacrifices for the craft. I realized early on while writing Echo Rising, my first novel, that I needed fairly large chunks of time to write. It takes me some time to warm up and get into the groove. I tried to write every time I had fifteen or twenty minutes, even a half an hour, but I was producing mostly unconnected nonsense.
I had to completely rearrange my schedule to fit in a couple of hours of writing time most days. I still had the full-time job, and a family to drive places, and help with homework, and feed, so 8:00 AM-8:00PM was out. Oh, and I was still expected to grade my students’ papers and tests. So, I sacrificed some sleep. I learned to live off six and a half hours of sleep. I moved all of my grading to the wee hours of the morning. This left a window of two or so hours each night to write.
At first, I thought I would be much too tired to write after a full day of work and parenting, but, as it turns out, the act of creating a story brings with it plenty of energy. And, as it turns out, I like grading papers early in the morning.
What kind of a writer are you?
You need to understand your tendencies and work habits to best utilize the time you have for writing. We are barraged with the philosophy that in order to produce, one must sit in a chair every day and pound out as many words as he or she can muster. As logical as that sounds, that doesn’t work for me. Maybe it works for you, but forcing myself to sit in a chair and produce daily only yields one thing: writer’s block. I don’t write well under pressure.
Granted, I still expect to write daily, but that doesn’t always mean adding words to my story. A very wise author once released me from the stress of trying to produce words daily with one simple idea: if you are thinking about your book, you are also writing. Freedom! I am the type of writer who spends a day or two organizing my thoughts and working through plot in my head, and then gets it all down in a burst of typing. I truly believe that I produce more in this way than when I sit at a computer daily.
What type of writer are you? What are you willing to sacrifice? What works best for you? Only you know.
About Rich Erixon
Rich Erixon has been a teacher of young writers for over a decade, and a practitioner of prose and poetry for quite a bit longer. His career as a Humanities teacher has also given him a strong understanding of the rise and fall of various types of governments, and a fascination with how dictators and totalitarian governments can come to control large groups of seemingly rational people. His stories tend to explore how people react under immense psychological pressure and emotional strain (see, his psychology degree was actually useful). Rich uses all of these attributes in Echo Rising, his first novel.
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
Subscribe to my blog to receive email updates of my latest posts.