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Finding Time to Write

I’ve attended three writers’ groups meetings in the past couple of weeks. There are common threads to be found with all of them. One of the recurring themes we hear when we visit with aspiring writers is the difficulty in finding the time to write. It’s a real struggle for those of us who still have day jobs. I work a full 40 hours per week and spend at least a couple hours a week blogging. I also have typical household and familial responsibilities.

I’m currently working on entries for 46 writing contests. I have 5 of them finished and submitted. That still leaves 41 to write, polish, and submit by the end of August. Most of the contests are for upcoming conferences and a few are for interesting looking contests that I happened across. There’s no way I’ll be able to enter all of the contests I have earmarked, but I’m going to try to enter as many as possible. Why? Because it’s fun, and it makes me happy.

To make time for my writing, I attack my other tasks with ferocity. Last Sunday is a good example. As I was cooking pancakes for breakfast, I unloaded, reloaded, and started the dishwasher. Then I started a load of laundry and folded the load I’d left in the dryer the night before. (Let’s face it, I get tired, and towels don’t need my help to dry.)

Here’s how that went: I poured batter into my skillet and dashed to the washer to add a few clothes. Then I rushed back to the skillet to flip my pancake and dashed back to the washer to add some more clothes. I repeated this process until the washer was ready to start. I did the same with folding the towels. I also cleaned out the refrigerator while I was cooking breakfast. That’s not incredibly impressive since my fridge is within arm’s reach of my stove, but it was still a wise use of time.

By the time breakfast was ready, I had several chores finished and could concentrate on my writing for a while. I continued working on the laundry as I wrote. I got up and took care of the clothes when a machine chimed and added more. This gave me more efficient use of the hours I had available that day.

Weeknights are usually pretty good for me. I can normally write for at least an hour if I don’t have anything pressing. A few weeks ago, I had at least one stop every night helping family members and friends with different things. I didn’t get home until around 9:00 p.m. every evening that week. Therefore, very little writing was accomplished. Conversely, there are some Fridays (my day off) when I write for a good 12 hours. Attending writer retreats also helps my productivity soar.

The point is that I write when I can, whenever that might be. I’m not a quick writer, but I’m a passionate one. I learned at a young age that the best way for me to communicate is through the written word. I have a vivid imagination that screams to come to live upon the page.

To any of you who are aspiring writers, I have two pieces of advice. 1. Make time to write. Whether it’s 30 minutes before everyone else gets out of bed or an hour after work, make the time. 2. Find other writers and spend time with them. Join a writers’ group if you can. Networking is vital because only another writer can truly understand that part of you. You are not alone in this pursuit, so you shouldn’t feel like it. I’ve made writer friends I cherish with all of my heart who have enriched my life exponentially.

To those of you who are voracious readers, thank you from the bottom of my heart. My friends and I appreciate you!

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