The Writer's Desk

Writing, publishing & marketing notes from Jamie DeBree & her alter egos

On Time & Words & Finding Both

I made a few mistakes when I came back to writing after my long sabbatical. I took myself too seriously – which I’m still trying to recover from – and I thought for sure I could find one solid hour per day for writing. Nevermind the fact that I’d never been able to before that, and all of my previous manuscripts had been written in bits and drabbles of time as I could find them – most often 15 – 30 minute chunks.

I foolishly thought that because I was a more “seasoned writer” now, that I could certainly set aside one hour per day (night) for writing, and stick to that. I’d done a couple of hour-long stints before here and there, and liked them, and it was so easy to just get lost in whatever I happened to be working on at the time. So that’s what I was determined to do. I blocked out my hour from 11pm to 12am Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri (and Weds in the summer when there’s no pool), and told my husband that I’d be in the office writing during that time, and that would be that.

The thing about plans is…well, you know. For awhile, I was religiously in my office at 11pm with tea and a snack, ready to go. And I wrote. And it was fun. But it was never, ever uninterrupted. Because the dogs needed in or out (or sometimes extra care for the dog who died this past February). Or just as I was hitting my stride, hubby would decide to go to bed, and we normally make the bed together at night. So then I moved my writing time back to 12am – 1am…which was fine in theory and finally quiet, but I was so tired I could hardly stay awake, and then I wasn’t getting to sleep by one either, which was making me late in the mornings, and it was kind of a big mess. I decided my health had to come first, so I had to be in bed by midnight (to read/unwind for half an hour, and then be asleep by 1am).

So then I moved it back, got lazy, and ended up having several late kitchen nights where something “healthy” had to be prepped either for us or the dogs (for the next day) before I could write, and then it got cut to 30 minutes, and hubby needed help, and the dog needed out, etc. And so I didn’t write, because I couldn’t get my solid hour, and real life kept interrupting, and I had to be in bed on time (which I haven’t been for the past couple of weeks again) and…yeah. No words.

Last week, I finally got over myself and realized that there was never going to be an hour of time for writing. Not at this point in my life, anyways. There is never one full hour where no one needs me unless I head out past midnight, and my health is not worth going too much past that soft deadline. So, I made peace with having to write in 15 or 20 or 30 minute intervals. It’s just how it has to be.

And now that I’m “finding” time wherever I can, I’m also finding words. It’s not always easy, but one thing about writing in shorter bursts is – I get used to remembering where I am in the stories at any given point in the day/night, so I can jump right back in and write another 250-500 words whenever I have one of those illusive chunks of time free.

Someday long into the future when I’m able to retire – that’s when I’ll get my long chunks of free writing time. But for now, in this particular season of my life, I need to make use of whatever time I can find. And that’s just the way it is.

A recent excerpt from my spec-fic novel in progress:

Unlike Donteneoux, where most of the buildings were built of wood harvested in the abundant forests, Nymar was a desert community, and the buildings were mostly yellow stone hewn from great cliffs that spanned the northern edge of the keep. The surrounding walls were also made of thick blocks wide enough for a man to walk on, which had served them well in less peaceful times. Detan’s workshop was nestled against the southern wall, sharing space with a woodworker on one side and a leather worker on the other.

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