Time does not really exist, so I suppose I’m talking about that moment where there are no pressing matters at hand and you are free to pursue whatever endeavour you wish. In this case, I’m talking about writing. I didn’t have a job for six months and now I do so I recognise the difference between being able to write all day and finding it difficult to dive into my written world during the week.
To make time for yourself is important. Whether it’s to play the violin, read a novel, or write like a crazy bunny on drugs. Still, that is easier said than done when obligations are in the way. Not to mention the real life people that push the imaginary ones out of the way. This is why I found that it’s important to adapt whatever goal you have. I just felt bad when I didn’t reach the goal I usually had (2K a day). And most of the time I just stared at my manuscript and was like, nope, I won’t write more than a sentence. But a sentence is still a sentence. And it might spark more sentences. You don’t know until you write. So it helps to tell yourself to write five minutes, for example. Just set the timer and let those fingers dance over the keyboard. Even if you write complete rubbish. Just do it.
When you wing it just like me, you follow the story, same as the reader will. This means that sometimes you will be stuck, and sometimes you will scrap things. And it’s okay to take time to brainstorm, in fact, that’s very good. So then take that time. Change your goal from writing every day to brainstorming every day. Make it as many minutes as you want. Maybe do it twice for five minutes. Or once for fifteen. You’re the boss.
Your story is your companion at the time that you’re working on it, but if you stop spending time with it, it will distance itself from you. It will only make it harder to get back into the groove, plus you miss out on all that fun! Reward yourself with that time. Especially when you’re busy, you deserve that time with your characters.
The wonderful gift that is short stories. Right now they are my life ring in the sea of WORK that is trying to drown me. Okay, it’s not that bad, especially since I’m staying afloat and every little victory is a big one for me.
In any case, you can imagine that the act of writing can sometimes slip past me like a rat with a little hat on. So, I’ve decided to do something which doesn’t come that naturally to me (anymore). It’s writing short stories.
Ever since I’ve started writing full-blown novels, I find that I can only think ‘big’ now. So this is a nice challenge and I find that I can easily write 2k in a day, because I’ve been craving to type those words that are about to explode in my mind and because I know where I’m going (it’s a short story, so easier to plan).
In any case, I can highly recommend this to people who are busy and still want to exercise their Writing Muscles. I’ve also made a blog with my short stories on it, so it’s also a good way for people to check out my writing and see if they like my style. *tries cool moves* *falls over*
Even though I’m still looking for a literary agent, I’m not in a hurry, especially with my new responsibilities and this way I still get to do what I love. Write for the sake of writing.
So if you’re in the same boat, or cruise ship as I like to say, then consider jumping on the Short Story Train. We have cupcakes.
Pick a jar that has a (short) story. Any jar…
Jar 1: Your character is on his way to work, he’s the only one on the road and encounters an injured woman lying in the middle of it. What does he do? And what happens? How did the woman get there?
Jar 2: Your teenage character wakes up with different parents and in a different house. Pictures show that her confusion is misplaced, but she knows something is wrong. This is not her home and these are not her parents. What happened? How does she try to figure out what is going on? And…what is going on?
Jar 3: Your character is a liar and known for her lies too. This time she witnesses something important but when she tries to warn people about it, nobody believes her. What is it she saw/heard and how does she go about proving she’s being truthful? What are the results? Is she making it worse, or better for herself?
Jar 4: Your character breaks into an old house that is supposed to be haunted, but also owned by a wealthy person. Your character finds a lot of jewellery, but also something else. What is it? And what does he do with it? Things get interesting when the house does indeed appear to be haunted. Or is it? *insert evil chuckle*
Jar 5: Your character is a child and has built himself a tree house. His own little lair surrounded with all the things he likes and bring him comfort. He even has his own binoculars. He secretly skips school while his parents are at work and explores his neighbourhood from his sanctuary. He seems something shocking and goes to investigate. What does he see and how does he investigate? What happens?
Dum dum dum dum. Make it exciting, or dramatic….make it whatever you want. The paper is your playground, have fun!
Finally the time has come. After I finished my MA in England, I pretty much had nothing to do. Well, writing. Which is important enough, I mean, I did after all finish my first novel. *insert HALLELUJAH* But I was also looking for a job that actually brought money and allowed me to not be glued to my desk. Teaching I always liked and I approached my old secondary school who were impressed and offered me a job/internship while I go to uni 1.5 days a week to get my official teaching papers. The plan being that I get to stay there and work as an English teacher.
What’s that sound? Me squealing. Sorry about that.
It’s just a really great job and close-by. I like that I’ll finally have a life and some variety. Like right now, I’ve had my first week and appreciate the weekend and my writing time more. I’m hunting for an agent, yes, but I’m also still writing. And blogging. And tweeting. Like a maniac.
That’s important to me, it’s part of being a writer, it’s part of being me. But now teaching is also a part of me. It’s going to be a tough year that will involve a lot of learning, sighing, laughing, crying and happy dances. But it will be just as rewarding as writing. Probably even more so, since you get to see results quicker.
Though my characters and pet dragons might miss the less me-time, I’m being a grown-up and I have an actual job that I like. Good, right? So please don’t be angry if I can only post once a week, instead of twice a week. I’ll do my best. Also, I might have to bribe my characters and pet dragons with ice cream. Well, socks for my pet dragons.
Wish me luck!
Our lovely muse can jump us at any time during the day and night, though knowing my muse, usually at night. She will grab us by the hair and keep pulling until we pour the creative ideas onto paper. She’s relentless that way and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is, however, this little thing called life. And that pulls our hair too. Even if we’d shave our heads, the pulling still wouldn’t stop. However, there is a way to stifle the muse for a little while. You know, like handing her shiny things so she gets distracted while you make money or hang out with loved ones as one does when one has a life.
Inspiration is everywhere and if you have a well-trained muse she will collect that inspiration and bring it right back to you. These moments can be when you are on the toilet, talking to friends, riding the bus, stuck at traffic, stuck at work, at a movie theatre, getting arrested, skydiving and riding your unicorn.. you know, daily stuff like that. To get rid of these flashes of inspiration without losing the valid ideas that come with it, you record these thoughts. You can do so by using notebooks, voice recorders or by writing upon your person (though most common places would be the hand and/or arm). During the day I write stuff on post-its or in my notebooks, though when it concerns a current WIP, I have a file called Notes & Quotes where I put these things. During the night, when I’m too tired to drag myself out of bed, walk aaaall the way over to my desk and grab pen and paper, I use the voice recorder on my phone. Which is by my bed. Sure, it’s weird hearing your own voice, but that’s the only downside and you get used to it. Eventually. This keeps your thoughts organised and when you do finally have a spare moment to dive into the writing lair, all your inspirational moments are right at your desk, tied with a neat little ribbon.
It’s interesting to see what can bring a person inspiration. I find that it’s all around me. It’s in music, the people around me, TV, news, stories, a grocery store even.
But that’s me. Where do you find yours?