How to Find Time to Write
Destiny's Going to have to wait because I'm a bit busy at the moment
An overwhelming sense of impending destiny brought tears to my eyes on a recent October afternoon. This was the moment I had waited for my entire life; sitting down to write a novel with a universal theme, incomparable metaphors and astonishing allegory. I was prepared to craft sentences that only Faulkner could rival, but with the insight of Thurber and the eloquence of Angelou. I inhaled the inspiring aroma of fresh brewed coffee in my mug, touched my fingers to the keyboard and typed I n e . Four-year old Madelyn, tugged at my sleeve.
I turned to give her my full attention. Already a knowledgeable observer of human nature, Madelyn knew that if I kept typing while saying "uh huh," I wasn't really listening. and she’d just have to repeat herself in ever increasing decibel levels until I understood her message.
"Look what I can do."
"What?" I gazed at her. Who could fail to be charmed by the rounded cheeks, the infectious smile, the inquiring eyes?
Madelyn opened her mouth and burped. Loudly. On purpose. Then she giggled.
"Well, isn't that something." I'd waited for those burps when she was an infant, never once imagining this moment.
"Bill taught me."
The week before, her older brother had taught her how to make spitballs. At least they weren't fighting.
"I taught everyone at preschool today, too." She skipped back outside, burping as she went.
I considered calling her back for another manners lecture, but decided against it. She'd burp for her father this evening and he could have the pleasure.
I sipped my coffee, turning my thoughts back to the novel. I imagined being compared stylistically to Hemingway, but with the wit of Erma Bombeck and the complexity of Virginia Wolfe. I touched my fingers to the keyboard and read what I’d typed. Ine.
What the heck was that going to be? Ine…quality? Ine…ficiency? Ine..ptitude? I backspaced and started over. I typed Unw when the telephone rang. The caller ID showed my parents’ number but I answered it anyway.
"Hi, mom. Can I call you back in a--"
"Talk to your father. He won't listen to me." This was unusually abrupt for my mother.
"He's wearing an earring." She sounded a bit hysterical.
"Which ear?" If this was an indication of a deeper issue that would provide material for more provocative personal essays, I needed the facts.
"I didn’t notice. Which ear, Dave? No, Beth wants to know which ear it's in. Did you hear him? He says the right. No, now he's laughing and says the left."
“So what’s the problem?” I asked.
"That attitude isn't going to help me. I'm going to call your brother."
I didn’t see how calling David would help.
After we hung up, I took another sip of my coffee, now lukewarm, and looked at my computer. My command of language would be comparable to Twain's, with the perspicuity of Jane Austin and the epigrammatic fluency of Ogden Nash.
Unw. What had I been trying to say? Unw..anted? Unw..arranted? More like unw..ritten. I deleted the letters and rubbed my temples.
I placed my fingers over the keyboard, but before I could type anything at all, Holly, age 6 going on 2 or 22 depending on the day, limped to my side.
"I cut my knee," Holly announced. Blood gushed down her leg.
"I'll say!" I hurried her to the bathroom. "This has to hurt. Why aren't you crying?"
"You told me not to." She didn't flinch when I wiped the blood and dirt away to see how deep it was.
"Why- -oh." Yesterday she'd run inside shrieking like she'd torn off a limb. Turned out she had a small sliver that I removed without tweezers. "You didn't have blood yesterday. You're allowed to cry over this."
"I don't feel like it now. Can I have a Little Mermaid band-aid?"
“Of course." I put the band-aid over the cleansed wound and she limped back outside. "Be careful!" I called after her.
I returned to the computer, took a sip of my coffee. It was cold. I stared at the blank screen. Wasn’t I about to write something? An essay of some kind? A poem, perhaps?
"What's for dinner?" Bill called through the screen door.
"Something as appetizing as if it came from a four star restaurant, but with the budget of McDonalds and the simplicity of Betty Crocker," I answered.
"Yes! And if I order now, it'll be here by the time your dad gets home from work."
"Want to watch me ride no-handed?"
"Sure." I grabbed the phone and went outside. Destiny would have to wait until after everyone was sleeping. Or grown up. Maybe I’d remember the topic by then.
Finding time to write solutions
Finding time to write – suggestions - or solutions if they work!
up early – yuck. In my case, not happening. For you early birds - go for it.
- Staying up late – works sometimes but then I’m tired in the morning.
- When you wake up in the middle of the night – sometimes works for me as far as jotting down general ideas. I’m not at my best as far as writing at that time. My cousin, however, used her insomnia to write pretty much her whole novel, an hour of her insomnia time.
minutes here and there – more realistic, but can be frustrating if you’re
in that writing zone and something interrupts you. Still, better than nothing.
- Whenever you can. Let's be realistic. Not many of us get the chance to write eight hours a day, uninterrupted. Gotta take when you can. Let the dishes go for a bit. Have someone else (if you can) fold the laundry.
- Just write. Simplest, best advice. Just write. No excuses. Do it. Now. Your next lifetime you might be into laundry. Don't waste it now.
And don't forget NANOWRIMO
For those of you who don't know, NANOWRIMO is National Novel Writing Month. Look it up on the internet, and join the section for your city! It's all of November, and you'll learn pretty quickly how to find time to write because by midnight on the 30th of the month, you're supposed to have a full draft of a novel at 50,000 words.That's about 1,660 words a day or so.
It can be done.
No one says it has to be a good draft, but it has to be 50,000 words. I've done it a few times.
I don't really have anything worth sending in or maybe even revising, but it did get me in the habit of writing.