Wednesday, 7 September 2016

IWSG September 2016

Autumn is here and with it time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, the group offers a safe haven for writers of all kinds to share their doubts and insecurities and offer helpful advice to others. Today's co-hosts are C. Lee McKenzieRachel PattinsonElizabeth SeckmanStephanie FarisLori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!


Today, I'm going to go straight to this month's IWSG question, as it ties into my insecurity in a way: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

I do editing as my main job - for fellow authors as well as an ongoing gig for a company where I will apply corrections to things like term papers, reports and resumes. I'm quite lucky in that it's not exactly a full-time job and I can pick and choose my own hours. But generally, the mornings are reserved for editing, while I might clean, walk the dogs, or run some errands in the afternoon. My writing is done from about 5.30am-6.30am, then I will get a head start on my editing before waking my daughter for school at 7.30. I could change this up, of course, as all my work is at home, but I definitely like having that sense of quiet when I can get space to mentally inhabit my fictional world. Now it's September, it's also dark as I'm writing this, which suits me fine, and it starts my day off on the right foot knowing I'm that bit further forward on my work.

The downside - and my insecurity - is that I'm often too tired for the writing to flow easily. This might sound like a bit of a whine, because I've got a comfortable job that I enjoy - it's not like I'm out digging roads for 12 hours a day. Still, though, it can take a while to get going, although once I start I generally keep going until I reach a good 1000 words. I don't know whether this is because I'm reaching the last part of a trilogy that's hugely important to me - I feel a lot of pressure to end well and do the whole thing justice, and I'm not used to having the weight of so much story under me. But then, that's silly, because the pressure is self-imposed and anything can get fixed in editing.

Overall though, I'm pleased with how it's going, especially as this is a book I struggled to get anywhere with for the best part of a year. If the words are going down, then the battle is in full swing.

Look forward to reading your answers to this month's question! Check out the list of IWSG participants here.

35 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - the main thing is you've got the structure there to settle in to ... so I'm sure the writing will flow and you'll finish with that upnote. A trilogy is a lot of story - good luck .. cheers Hilary

Nicola said...

Isn't it strange that the pressure to write and succeed mainly comes from ourselves? We are a special breed :) Hope you have a productive month filled with inspiration. Take care.

JeffO said...

The nice thing about that schedule is you do have some flex time. If YOUR writing is going in a particular way, you can push into that "pre-work hours work." I found I rather like writing in the hour or so before going to work, and while it was difficult at first (I had been a mid-morning to early afternoon writer when I was under-employed), I now often find myself having to drag myself away from the keyboard. We are adaptable, we humans.

It sounds like things are going pretty well right now; I hope that's the case, and I hope it keeps up!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You might be groggy, but you're wise to do your own writing first. I usually check social media then hit my DLP work. My own writing gets shoved to later in the day when my to-do list is finished. (Which means some days, no writing at all.) Working from home doesn't mean we have all the free time in the world, does it?

The Cynical Sailor said...

I like how you're able to balance writing, work, family and life chores. Perseverance seems to be the key, and it sounds like you have this in spades.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I used to get up early like you to write too when I worked full-time. I think that's a great time to get it done before you start your editing job. Now I am a full-time nonfiction writer. I get up each morning fairly early and get writing for the day between 8:00 and 9:00.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It sounds like you've got a good system going for you, and if you're pleased overall with what you've been doing then that's excellent. Keep at it! :)

Jennifer Hawes said...

Writing or editing or both can be very tiring. It's nice to get in a routine especially when you have family!

betty said...

I think you have a good schedule, Nick. I think early morning is a great time to be productive. Working at home is so beneficial too.

Betty

Donna K. Weaver said...

I mentioned this on Alex's blog. We rarely "find" time. We have to "make" time. It's a matter of priorities. But you do raise an important issue, about energy. I work a full-time job, so my available time is limited. And so in my energy. I run elections for my city. Next year is an election year for me. I've found that it takes a lot of my brain energy. So I have to do better at "making" my time well used. Thanks for the reminder.

Karen Walker said...

Nick, it sounds like you have a really good handle on what works for you. The good news is you have some flexibility because everything you do is from home, so if you continue to feel "groggy" perhaps you can shift things around a bit and see if something else works better.

Crystal Collier said...

Shall I tell you? I had to COMPLETELY rewrite the third book in my trilogy 3 times. THREE FIRST DRAFTS. Yup. There's definitely more pressure on the final book in the series and you're not alone in that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Keep up the battle! Sounds like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Laura Clipson said...

It sounds like your writing is going well, keep it up! I would love to work in editing, it's actually a long-term goal I'm hoping to achieve eventually. I would love to earn a living from something I love to do.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

As someone else who enjoys writing in the early hours of the morning, I know what you mean about sometimes feeling like the ol' gray cells are moving too slowly to formulate a coherent thought. Even so, I wouldn't change a thing. It sounds like your schedule is working beautifully for you. Almost done your trilogy? That's awesome!!! Since I'm still muddling through book one, I am duly impressed with how much work and determination it has taken you to get this far. Congratulations!

M said...

I can't even think straight that early in the morning! Plus, it takes me a while to "warm up" and get moving on my writing. I take the kids to school, go for a walk, come home and check my email and a few Web sites, then get writing. But like you, once I get going I average about 3-4 solid pages of work, more on a particularly good day.

J E Oneil said...

I barely can find time to write (I'm not quite willing to get up at five in the morning for it!). You clearly have more dedication than I do :)

Zan Marie said...

Nick, that's some schedule! I wish you energy for it and all the other important things of the day.

diedre Knight said...

The words are flowing again - wonderful! Gosh, I envy your schedule. Mornings are my favorite time to write, though I also love morning walks so I take along a teensy spiral for bursts of creativity that just can't wait. Happy writing, Nick!

Nicki Elson said...

Yahoo for the words going down!

Morning writing is the best - and it's awesome that you make it a priority first thing in the morning. In darkness.

Jamie Ayres said...

It is hard to feel like you're producing good, quality writing when you're always tired . . . that's my insecurity too.

Liz A. said...

I think we all kind of need time to get warmed up when writing. And it sounds like you've got a good routine going. Even if you don't feel like it's all that good, at least you're getting words on the page. That's major.

S.P. Bowers said...

As long as the words are coming it doesn't always matter how slow. You have a routine, you're making progress, that's wonderful! I totally get the too tired thing, though.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Annnnnd your a great editor! I need to get with you again for further editing. So glad you are still writing. It's hard to work a day job and do the creative thing with the free time.

Teresa

Sandra Almazan said...

I wake up by 5:30 too, but I use the time to exercise. Everyone has a different schedule, I guess.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

That's not a whine at all! There are days my brain is too tired to focus, much less come up with something coherent. Not saying I'd rather be digging ditches...just saying I understand what you're saying.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I admire that you're able to commit to writing in the early morning before you start your day job. That's not easy, but a lot of people say it's the best time to write.

And hey, editing is mentally draining. It consumes a lot of creative energy too--a lot more than many people think. So that could be part of the reason you're feeling exhausted. Sometimes "menial" work--like digging ditches--can make people feel more energized than sitting in front of a computer for hours.

I feel for you. And good luck with your trilogy.

Michelle Wallace said...

Nick, it sounds like you've found a balance...of sorts...
It's just a matter of keeping on...chipping away little by little and watching things fall into place as the story unfolds.
Sounds like you're over the main drafting hurdles.

Chemist Ken said...

It's not whining to say that it's hard to write when you're tired. The creative juices just don't work when you're tired, or at least that's the way it works for me.

Hey if editing is part of your job, then you already have a head start on those of us who still need someone else to edit our work. Good luck finding time to write.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Tiredness is a hard one to overcome when writing. Sometimes you can write when you're tired, but it ends up making no sense more often than not.

Sherry Ellis said...

Writers do put a lot of pressure on themselves. Just keep writing!

Mark Noce said...

Flexible hours is a huge plus. In fact, being a writer in general I find requires an undue amount of flexibility:)

Tyrean Martinson said...

It sounds like you are defninitely winning the battle with words this month! Thats awesome!
I get being tired while writing. Sometimes (if I remember to do this), I get up and do jumping jacks or some other crazy thing (thank goodness I don't have nosy neighbors) that wakes me up physically and that helps get the brain awake, too.
I think you're going to have an amazing project when you finish!

Cynthia said...

It's nice to hear that you have a routine down and that you have some flexibility for when you can do your work. Indeed, physical exhaustion can inhibit the creative process. I always encourage people to give themselves permission to take breaks when they need them.

dolorah said...

I was in several critique groups, with prolific authors submitting new writings and chapters every week. All that editing and reading was mentally draining, and left me no desire to create anything of my own. My own writing voice started to sour. I can't just turn off the editor when I'm creating.

I can see how having a day job like this could drain the creativity. You'll find some balance I'm sure. Perhaps set aside a couple days a week that you only write for yourself; immerse yourself in your own worlds.