if you don't mind me asking -- i think you've mentioned that you had a job while writing SHATTER ME: how did you find time to write so quickly, hold a job, and keep up with social networking (and generally being awesome) at the same time?
Hi! I’m one of aspiring writers who wants to get her book done but doesn’t have enough time (I’m studying hard). I think I need to get on schedule but don’t know which one really works. Do you have your own writing schedule? Is it really possible to write a novel in a short period of time?
these are really excellent questions. i think they're questions every writer struggles with, because so many of us are working and/or going to school, and/or supporting a family and/or running after kids and trying to get dinner on the table, all while attempting to write a novel, research the industry, establish an online presence, and attempt to market our books. it's a lot to ask of anyone.
up until about a week ago, i was working full-time. day job + writing job + life and life and life and life. and i don't even have kids. i am in AWE of the mothers and the fathers who work full-time and parent full-time and still find time to write. it boggles my mind.
because here's the thing: it's hard as hell.
i'm not going to lie. i can't pretend i just waved my Writer Wand and made things happen, because it's not easy to do all of these things at the same time. it really isn't. that's why it makes me ache with frustration when people intimate that writers must have a lot of free time, and oh, how nice for them to be able to sit around and suck on a pencil while inspiration bubbles in their teacups. i have no idea what world they think we live in, but it's cruel and painfully unfair to assume that writers don't work hard. in fact, we're working almost every free minute we can find.
we read books because we have to know our genre, our industry. we have to know what sells, what's hot, what's hitting the shelves in a big way. we read because we're looking for an agent, an editor, a publisher. we scour the acknowledgments sections of books we love because we're doing research to find a good fit for our novels. we save money to go to conferences just for five minutes to meet with an agent or an editor or to hear a few words at a panel that might help us inch closer to our dreams. we write until it hurts, until it makes us cry, until we're hunched over our laptops banging our heads against the windows and telling ourselves it's useless, it'll never work, what were we thinking and when was the last time we brushed our teeth.
but it's not impossible. i know it's not because i see it every day. i see moms and dads and college kids and teenagers getting book deals and finding their fit in this industry and i know it's not impossible. but scheduling time to write isn't something i can teach anyone. it's something that has to come from you. you have to want to write -- you have to want it badly enough to prioritize, to restructure your plans, to understand that you'll be cutting back on your social life and your play dates and you probably won't be sleeping much at all. that's what it takes.
i found time in the quiet moments i should've been sleeping. i found time in the hours i could've been out with friends. i found time in the early mornings i should've been hitting the snooze button and in the evenings i should've been cleaning the kitchen. i found time on the weekends when i shirked family responsibilities and should have, but didn't, leave my house. i spent every single 3-day weekend and holiday break working, writing, reading, revising. i read industry blogs and studied query letters and scoured forums and rss feeds while waiting in lines and eating breakfast. i spent lunch breaks at the library, the bookstore, combing through stacks of books and touching individual spines and staring at covers and studying trends. i blogged every day, almost every single day, and promised myself i wouldn't give up. i told myself i couldn't. not now. not anymore.
there's no such thing as a schedule for your average writer. we don't have the luxury of staring out of windows and taking longer than 30 seconds to splash water on our faces. we're running on a quarter tank and we make it work however we can. the schedule is up to you. you'll find pockets of time you can no longer afford to squander. 90 second commercial breaks. five minutes while you're waiting for the kids to jump in the car. 10 minutes while the chicken cooks. half an hour in the waiting room at the doctor's office. 45 minutes at the DMV. the moments will arrive -- it's up to you how to use them.
writers are thieves. we steal moments and memories and now we steal minutes, too. we scramble for extra seconds and shove them in our pockets when no one is looking.
if you want to write, you make it work. you make time.
there's really no other way.