Monday, 16 March 2009

Finding time...

Time, wow.

My life always seems to be about finding time – finding the time to meet my deadlines, finding time to work on a new WIP, finding time to find new clients for my non-fiction writing, finding time to maintain my blogs… well, you get the picture. The frustrating part of it is that it always seems to be “I’ll get to that new project as soon as I get past this next great hurdle.” (And the hurdle doesn’t necessarily have to be anything about my writing.)

As a freelance writer I have to make the time, keep my projects and thoughts in order, follow up with the mundane business end of writing professionally (invoices, responses, records, responses…), and generally be an organization whiz that is totally contrary to my creative side. It can be frustrating, aggravating and sometimes overwhelming.

To-do lists are great because they do help me to NOT forget the next project or commitment, but they can also add to the irritation of knowing how much more I haven’t gotten accomplished. I’ve learned to make as much note about what I have done as what I haven’t done. Perhaps it’s a separate list, but that takes up time to do. Drawing a bold, very visible jagged line through an item that started on the to-do list can be satisfying when you look and see the paper filling up with graffiti.

I am in the throes of teaching a creative writing course and one of the biggest stumbling blocks for my students is “finding the time to write” – and the appear crestfallen when they find how much more time goes into the business side. So we have been working on suggestions where ideas can be scribbled on blank index cards during the hectic day, or a journal written before bedtime can be filled with thoughts to be turned into stories. When you do sit down to write, celebrating those four pages you wrote, even when you know three will eventually be trashed, will be motivation to write even more.

I’ve got a lot on my desk right now, three non-fiction articles due this Friday, interviews I have to set up for two more articles due in a month, two WIP’s I spoke to my publisher about, some editing and a query or two I have to send out. I also have the ongoing promotion efforts for my books and pre-hype publicity for my next novel, Final Sin, due out in May. Then there is the reading I promised I would do for fellow authors and friends. Let’s not forget that I have a home life and responsibilities there.

We are all busy people these days – look at it this way, if you don’t feel you have the time to write those stories you are carrying in your head, then you certainly don’t have the time to make excuses.

So write, we are waiting for it.


By the way, I would like to offer you a FREE ChapBook e-book download featuring the first chapters of my five novels, Bartlett's Rule, Forgotten, Within the Law, Courage of the Heart, and Final Sin (coming May 2009). Just send me your email address to with "ChapBook" in the subject line.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Excellent blog, Chelle! Wow - you ARE busy!And I love the offer of the free download of your first chapters!

Linda Banche said...

Good post, and very appropriate.

I read in a book, and I can't remember the title now, that when people say "I don't have the time" what they're really saying is "I don't want to".

Maybe that's something to tell your students. Making time isn't easy, but then, if writing were easy, everyone would be doing it, and they aren't.

I suppose it comes down to how badly do you want to write.

Chelle Cordero said...

Thanks for your comments Lindsay & Linda,

Maybe it does sound harsh but it's true, if you really want to write, you find the time to do it.

I have heard ideas from some very talented folks and then I ahave heard reasons why they don't put these ideas on paper. It's a shame because people are missing out on some great stories.

Kaye Manro said...

Good Post! I completely agree. Finding time to write is just one of those things we writers do.

I also have friends who say they have all these wonderful stories in their head and still they don't write. And it's not writers block either!

Lindsay Townsend said...

I teach a bit of creative writing and once, as a bit of a joke, I gave my students a list of how they could steal time - it meant things like missing a shower or a bath for a day, missing a TV programme, getting take-out, jotting down notes or more on bus travel: stuff like that. It was intended as a bit of fun but later one student did say she did use it to write sometimes.

Chelle Cordero said...

I think as Linda said above "it comes down to how badly do you want to write".

Thanks for stopping by Kaye (& Lindsay again)

LK Hunsaker said...

I agree with the above comments that if you really want to write or need to write, you make the time, you don't "find" it. Even when I was working full time and raising young kids and taking care of my house on my own because of a traveling spouse, I made time to write. I mostly gave up TV for one. Who needs that when you have a good imagination? ;-)