So, coming into this new year I have several goals and in order to reach these goals, I need to set aside time. Nothing special right? Well, for the writer **time** is a huge factor and one that some may not appreciate depending on your situation.
Okay so let me set up what the usual expectations some amateur writers or even non-writers believe: we spend hours in front of our keyboard(or whatever you use to write) lazily contemplating our story and furiously write and we do this either in a pattern or in phases.
Let me tell you right now, no one has that sort of time and even the larger than life writers will tell you that each sentence is hard won. Maybe for some practitioners of the craft, time is more of a resource for them and not a precious commodity like it is for me, but all the same time management is key when it comes to writing. I’m not even trying to sell this like a ratio of minutes to words, but sometimes it helps to understand how efficient you’re being (I’m kind of a statistic junkie).
And if time is precious to you, like it is for me then you need to take steps in order to protect and maximize the time you have for writing. I have a seven-month-old baby, who just started to sleep through the night and generally has a bedtime at seven, which means I have roughly two to three hours every night that I am mostly entirely mine. Obviously, if you’re a writer who can do the “AIC”(ass in chair) method and go for it, by all means, do it. For myself and more than likely others, I have a couple ideas that I’m going to employ this coming year as I begin to work on my other projects this year.
Okay so what I am going to try and put into practice is this:
Free writing – Sitting down with pen and paper and just writing whatever comes into my head dealing with my project at hand. Doesn’t matter if its a scene or a vingette or just a character sketch, I’ll write until I’ve played out the thought and then beginning writing for the night.
Plotting – I try and formulate how my story is going to go and set up a three act structure. This may also involve some world building where nesscary and possibly some research, but by the end of the “session” I should have a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. I’ll more than likely do this on legal pad so I am free to write whereever and generally my mind feels more free on paper than it does in a Microsoft doc.
These are a little general and that’s more because I don’t want to prescribe exactly how it should be done, but only what I’m going to use in order to use my time well. These are both methods I’ve picked up over the years from other writer friends and from my MFA program, so they are tried and true methods. I’ve for so long used the “pantsing” method, which as a single graduate student wasn’t a big deal, but with a full-time job, family and other responsibilities…pantsing isn’t going to get the job done.
These are not the only methods, but ones I’m going to experiment with as I attempt different things this year. I’ll let you all know how it goes and share my progress.
Otherwise, happy writing!