Writing and Time


Nearly every writing magazine, blog, and interview with a writer will discuss the relationship between time and writing. More specifically, the lack of time there is to write in most of our busy day-to-day lives. This is a specifically harsh fact for writers with full-time jobs, young kids, and the million other obligations we have. While I don’t have any answers to this problem, I can add my own blue note of longing to this common song.

What do we do to eke out enough time to write?

Some of us write late at night after everyone is asleep. Others get up before dawn to get the words out before the world wakes up. All of which is fine, but I want to say that unless there is a sense of real urgency I can’t seem to write day or night. There either has to be an external deadline of some kind, or the feeling of having not written has to become overwhelming. Th most productive writing time in my life, ironically, came when I actually had the most obligations and responsibilities in my daily life. I was under a strict deadline that required a little over a thousand words a day to produce a first draft. Come rain or shine, I had to get those words out. Because of my wife’s work hours and a small child’s sleeping hours, this meant that I was writing anywhere between 7:00 PM to 4:00 AM every night. Usually I was simply writing at one of the local Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or a number of independent establishments from 7:00 to 9:00–no big deal. But as the deadline approached, I found that I was writing until 2:00,3:00, even 4:00 in the morning.

Urgency motivates, of course, yes, but how do we make things urgent for ourselves when we lack a strict deadline? Writing partners and groups that hold each other accountable is one way that I am looking into currently. Versions of these kinds of arrangements have really helped me in the past, so that’s what I am thinking about currently. If anyone knows any good online groups for this kind of thing or have other tricks to produce the sense of urgency I am talking about–let me know!

Featured image from Flickr user, girl/afraid. Thank you. 


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