It’s all about the timing.

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A combination of factors in November reminded me of something important: writing is all about the timing.

By which I mean, it’s all about making the time to write, rather than having cleverly-timed one-liners or excellent pacing beats in your books (though those help too!). This past November, doing Nano, was the first time in ages that I had a specific word count I was trying to reach, and in order to do it I found myself sacrificing things I’d been too precious with to give up earlier.

Like sleep. Now, normally this is not my favorite thing to do, but my husband’s work schedule has changed so he’s getting up at 5:30 in the morning. Frankly, I’m pretty much awake once he’s up, so I might as well get up and write. And I can usually get in 1K in the morning before the baby wakes up, and that (Nano aside) is my daily quota, so…yeah. All I *really* have to do to make that pretty feasible is go to bed an hour earlier. (Which, of course, getting up an hour earlier makes easier, too…)

Like TV. A friend of mine says if you’ve got time to watch TV, you have time to write. I’d been reaaaaaaaalllllllly letting myself go on that, and spending an evening after the baby’s bedtime just snuggling down and watching an episode of this or that. I’d convinced myself I couldn’t write in the evenings anyway, so it didn’t matter. But I was never anywhere near my daily Nano wordcount, so for the last couple weeks of November I retreated for an hour’s worth of writing, and gosh, it turns out I *can* write in the evenings. I just didn’t *want* to.

Lunch hour. Nap time. On the commute. Those are all different times I’ve stolen in the past to make sure the writing got done. Now that I’ve rediscovered some of them, I’m feeling quite efficient. How about you? What time have you stolen, lately?

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7 comments to It’s all about the timing.

  • Mikaela

    Thank you for the reminder, Catie. :). I was good at snatching writing time during Nano, but I have lapsed the last two weeks. I could come up with a number of excuses, papers to read, exam, essay to write. And yes, they play a part but the biggest reason are that my subconscious needed time to figure out where I took a wrong turn. That happened a couple of days ago. Now I am just struggling against the reluctance to toss 1500 words… But it is needed, and the story will be better for it.

  • My lunch breaks, definitely. In fact, I sometimes begrudge the fact that I have to eat in that hour … also, with the TV, I couldn’t cut it out entirely but my husband is okay with negotiating when we watch the shows we watch together. Thank heavens for the PVR!

    But I agree with Mikaela. During Nano I definitely made more time for writing. But I also feel like I have a bit of a Nano hangover. My day job has been busier than usual this year and I’ve been taking on more responsibilities (read: stress) there. Also, being in the place of having finished a manuscript and now trying to find an agent, I’m having a hard time making the time for that search the way I do for writing. The holidays add an extra dose of stress, of course.

  • Stealing time is easy. But payback can hurt. LOL
    Thanks for the reminder, Catie. It is so easy to let time get away from me at this time of your. Happy Merry and Safe Shopping to everyone!

  • I had to laugh – my husband is up at 5 am and I write before the kids are awake, too! It’s my main writing time but I know I could squeeze in more time later in the day. TV is something I have to be mindful of too. I swear it’s like a drug.

  • Shaving time off my lunch breaks, trying to get going just a bit earlier in the morning, taking fewer email/browsing breaks during the course of the day. A few minutes here and there and suddenly I’ve got an extra hour each day. Maybe that’s only a page more per day, but over the course of writing a book, that can add up in a hurry.

  • Razziecat

    TV isn’t a draw for me. Messing around on the internet is, though :) My main writing time is in the evenings; there’s just no time during the workday, and if I don’t get enough sleep, my brain is mush. During NaNo I knew that if I missed a day, I would fall behind and it would be very difficult to catch up. Now I just have to convince myself that I can still do about 1500 or so words a day, even without that deadline.

  • Lunchtime is good. Recently I’ve been working through most of my lunch breaks, but when things are calmer they’re a nice half hour or more of writing time.

    I’ve also been getting up 15 minutes earlier to write (really, just not hitting snooze any more). It’s not a lot, but even doing just a little bit in the morning means my brain is spending some cells on writing all day long.