Making Time To Write

I often hear people say they would love to write but they do not have the time to do so, I used to think that a little but as I heard writers on podcasts say that if you want to write then you will find the time. They are all totally right!

Let’s assume that most of us new writers have day jobs (I do) so that’s, let’s say eight hours a day. I suppose we need to sleep so let’s say that’s another six hours. Let’s say four hours for all the little bits and pieces like house work, cooking, eating and so on. That leaves six hours a day to write. Result! ūüėÄ

I know what your thinking “what a load of [insert curse word of choice]”

There is no way that we can break the numbers down like that but let me ask you; how many hours a week do we give up to TV, or surfing the web? Or on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter, blogging even. Okay we can argue that social media is building our brands but how often do we pop over thinking “I wonder what’s happening” and most often nothing has changed since we last checked it. How about the time that we spend on video games as well? And lets not forget partners, kids and other family and friends. This is just some of the distractions that come to mind that distract me and I am the worst in the world for getting dis….. Ooo Audi R8………. Sorry where was I? Oh yes getting distracted. That is something I have to work on because I DO get so much done when I turn off the TV and ignore those pesky notifications.

I also write during my lunch breaks at work, sometimes I write in the mornings before I get to work as well. I have the Pages App on my iPhone so I have the ability to write whenever I want, saying that I also carry a pen and notepad with me the majority of the time. I write whilst standing in cue at the post office or the doctors, the dentist (that ones a good distraction as I’m petrified of the dentists!).

The biggest reason we don’t write is because we think we don’t have the time, if you only manage to write a thousand words a week that’s still 52,000 words a year, but if you are writing regularly it won’t just be a thousand words a week because the more we do something the better we get at it. You will find that if you write two hundred words an hour when you first start off then by the time you’ve been writing regularly you’ll find it’ll be four hundred, then six hundred.

Try to write everyday. I’ve spoken about WriteChain before, the App that gives you a link each day that you write, well on this
App you can set a minimum word count, I’ve set mine at a hundred words, that’s a piece of cake for me but if you start off with a hundred words a day minimum you’ll find that you will be smashing that easily and if you want to up it then go for it but all the time you’re writing you keep adding to your chain, and it feels great seeing that number growing (although I forgot to add a days writing into it once and lost a chain that was about thirty days long, I was gutted!)

So turn off any unwanted distractions and get cracking, if you don’t start writing then no one else is going to start writing your books for you. If you want to write just write.

(This post should have gone live about a year ago but for some unknown reason it did not, my bad because at the end of the day I forgot about it. Since then I have learnt a lot about writing and what the worlds distractions are and how to avoid them)

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Where Was I?

I have had a couple of rough days, nothing to drastic in the grand scale of things but I’ve had a little bit of stress to get through and a couple of nights with little sleep.¬† So I’ve been running on empty for the last couple of days, but I’m feeling like me again now ūüėĬ† That said I’ve not done any editing whatsoever so come tomorrow I’ll be knocking out a few pages and getting¬†rolling¬†again.

Me and Tracie went and saw The Sweeny¬†on Sunday and we both really enjoyed it.¬† I would not say that it is the same as the original 1970’s version but it is a damn good crack at how that sort of unit would act in this day and age.¬† Ray Winstone¬†never¬†gives anything but his best in films and plays Jack¬†Reagan very well¬†¬†and Ben Drew (A.K.A Rapper Plan B) is very impressive as ¬†George Carter.¬† With Hayley Atwell, Damian Lewis and Steven Macintosh we have a strong main cast and the support cast hold their own too.¬† This is a very good film with plenty of edge and some great dialogue.¬† It does have its weak points but only one really pulled me out of the film, one minute they are in Gravesend and the next they are in a caravan park on the Isle Of Sheppey.¬† It’s not really explained whether the car chase takes them from Gravesend to Sheppey or if it’s just the filmmakers saying there is a caravan park like that in Gravesend (I just want to point out that I was born, raised and still live in Gravesend which is a forty minute drive to Sheppey) so I know the area quite well.¬† That aside it’s a film that is a lot of fun ūüôā

That does lead into something that needs to be thought about as a writer.¬† I have often heard other writers on podcasts say that the location details have to be spot on because there is always a chance that someone reading your book or watching your film lives just down the road from where you are setting your story.¬† That can take the person out of the story and worst case scenario put your book etc. down and never look at anything else that you do.¬† The part that sucks for all of us starving artists is that we can’t always afford to travel to the places that we write about.¬† So how do we go into learning about foreign lands without going there.¬† Let’s say that I am writing a story set in New York the first thing that I would do is Google New York and check out what is said on Wikipedia and follow on from there.¬† I would also get in touch with a couple of people who I know have been to New York and ask them what they thought of the city.¬† Then there is Twitter where I’m sure there is someone tweeting and blogging about everyday life in that fine city.¬† Then there is Google maps and street view.¬† Obviously not every location on earth has had the attention that New York has had but then it is just a case of¬†digging¬†deeper.

Something that I need to improve in myself is doing all this research.  We can never know enough about a city, or a culture or technology we may talk about, but we also have to be wary of over loading the reader.  I could clock up countless hours doing this research and only use 10% of what I have learnt but knowing all the details makes the story real.  This goes for making sure that our locations are accurate too.

 

10k Words To Hit By The End Of The Week

That is my target for this week.¬† On the project that I am working on I am at 3000 words and I am determined to be at 10,000 by the end of the week (especially¬†as a friend scoffed when I told her that I wanted to hit this target)¬† So this week I will be going on a major NaNoWriMo style writing marathon till the weekend which means that each evening I will be locking myself away for a good couple of hours and just write!¬† So I will not be on Facebook, Twitter, here, or Google+ until I’ve hit my target for the night.

So I’ll catch you all later and have a good evening ūüôā

Social Networking

I have heard a lot of writers and editors talking about building a presence¬†online through social networks which I tend to agree with, but one of the things that they say is not to let it over take over the actual writing.¬† I tried to write tonight but no matter how hard I tried no words knitted together into a cohesive sentence.¬† So I started flicking through a few blogs and re-following people on Twitter.¬† With Twitter I tend to re-follow most of the people who follow me.¬† The only times that I don’t¬†is when the person has been on Twitter a long time and has never actually tweeted.¬† Just lately I’ve un-followed¬†a few people who don’t¬†follow me and never tweet anything of interest.¬† I tend to steer clear of people who use excessive bad language or are just plain nasty.¬† I wont ask my followers to follow people who have asked me to recommend¬†them, I’d rather re-tweet something that¬†they wrote that was of interest.¬† I’m on LinkedIn and Google+ as well but am still finding my feet with those two.¬† I’ve got a MySpace¬†which I’ve never really got into and obviously I have Facebook.¬† The two that I use the most are Twitter and Facebook.¬† Twitter is for all, I don’t¬†care who follows me at all, Facebook is for me.¬† I have a few people from Twitter on Facebook but as a general rule it’s mainly¬†for my family and close friends.¬† Most of the people there I have met and I have photos of children who are those of friends or family.¬† This brings me to whether I have my Facebook linked in to my blog, I’m holding off on this because I like having the separation¬†between Facebook and Twitter.¬† An alternative is to have a ‘like’ or fan page on Facebook, but I’ve not got anywhere yet.¬† I’ve not even submitted anything yet so I feel a little like a fraud¬† when I think about doing the fan page, but would it really be any different to having a Twitter account?¬† I doubt I’m the only person in this position.

 

As for my writing, I finished off my Christmas story and will be editing it in the next couple of days.¬† I need to finish the edit of another short story as well.¬† This second one is a story that I intend to submit in the new year.¬† Although I have written¬†a good ten short stories in the last eighteen months most of those are part of a series that I still need to do a little work on.¬† Mainly continuity¬†issues but until they are put right I can’t really start sending them off for submission.

Novel wise I am still struggling with getting our main project off the ground, but I have had some inspiration on another project so I think I may crack on with that one to see where I can take it.