Stop Faffing About! by Eileen Magee
Another Word or two from Eileen Magee—still practicing to be a Famous Author (!)
I don't know about you, but I can't remember my parents being as busy as we are these days.They were busy— just in different ways (that didn't include all the technology that's 'made our life easier'!).Maybe too, they were very good at concealing the real 'busy-ness' of life.
I expect the writers of the day, felt as overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending busy-ness as we do.
Everyone's level of busy is comparative, as is a writer's (apparent) lack of time.Let's chat about that and see what we can do about finding some (time).
Most of us rely on some sort of routine to help daily life and domestic duties flow somewhat smoothly.Not necessarily a stringent schedule, but something we fall into as a matter of course.
If we slip up from our routine, we pay for it by running late, forgetting something crucial or spending our days in catch-up.In amongst our routines—there's the other bits of life too:family, friends, pets, health, heartache and so much more.
Then of course there's those things that sneak into our routines unnoticed and before we know it—they've become part of the routine!You know what I mean…favourite television programs, social media, painting your toenails, and other such distractions.All of which leaves scant time for our writing (or illustrating, etc.).
What's to be done…?
You know your own vice.Your own excuse/s.I have plenty.I could list them here but then it becomes a competition of who's 'busier' than who.
What needs to be done, is to determine what's busy and what's faffing-about—which is busy doing something that's nothing useful—when you could be writing instead.Simple.Well, no—it would seem not because there's an awful lot of faffing-about going on.An awful lot of woeful cries of 'I've no time to write because I'm too busy!'
I do realise I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.Sometimes, hearing it from someone else prompts you to remember you were going to make more time to write.
So, to start…you need to recognise your 'free' time.Yep, I know—I'm hilarious. What free time?That's the point…read on....
You know as well as I do that there's plenty of articles and people who give excellent suggestions toward finding that elusive friend of ours…time.Principally, time to write.At the risk of repeating that which you might have already read or heard, here's a few offerings from Mugsy Magee here:
Make a Date
Plan a timetable for writing to fit into your week.Yes, you might consider that too structured, but that's what we're here for—to find—and commit to, some writing time in your busy week.Something's better than nothing.
Think about it like this…if you were on the local football or netball team, you'd attend regular training sessions and the actual game.These dates would be noted on your calendar.So, instead of leaving the house to go to footy or netball, leave the room (or the house if you must), and write for the same timeframe of the training session/s and the game.Throw in some 'travel time' too if you can take the liberty.Of course, you may well scoff at the thought of fitting in footy or netball…use your imagination to think of a suitable replacement that's relevant to your week.
Perhaps schedule timeframes for specific tasks…Monday = critique group, Wednesday = editing, Friday = work-in-progress.That sort of thing.If you're working a day job, don't forget lunchbreaks can be precious writing time too.
Bells and Whistles
You know what it's like when you're on a roll especially in the quiet of the evenings.You feel like you've tapped into your inner-depths of creativity, time flies and in no time at all you find yourself in the wee hours of the night.If unchecked for too many nights, you may need to be tapped awake in the following days from a very different inner-depth.To help you function during waking hours, allocate a time and set the alarm clock.Half an hour, an hour.At the sound of the dinger, that's it.Pack up, save your files, close your book, clean your teeth, and go to bed.
Got little ones that nap during the day?Can you sneak a little writing time?As mentioned above, set the alarm—or quite possibly there's no need to—you do after all, have your own snoozing siren.
You know the benefit of reading your story aloud—you can pick up where it flows and stumbles.Why not read your story, or snippets of, to lull your little ones to sleep?If they fall asleep before you're finished…it doesn't necessarily mean you bored them into it.
I'm told the shower can be a place of inspiration—some say their ideas flow as fast as the water!To their delight, there's such a thing as waterproof notepads specifically made for those whose ideas like to make a splash!
Talking to Yourself
Talking to yourself can be more constructive than you'd think.Have your phone (set to record) nearby and chat until your heart's content.Works when driving, mopping the floor, folding the clothes, peeling the spuds …anytime really.Record your ideas and type them up later.If you're up with the technology side of things, you'll know there's software that translates your speech to text on the screen—now there's something to think about!
Balancing your social life can be tricky.You've got to keep in touch with friends and family, but if you're out more than you're in…when do you spend time with your muse?
Reading on the Road
Travelling on public transport is an excellent chance to read in peace—be it writing blogs, webpages, a critique submission—making notes on the side.Alternatively, you may appear to be staring aimlessly out of the window, when in fact, you're running through a scene in your head, nutting out a character flaw or new idea.This works with your eyes shut too.
There's times in our lives when there seems we can't find a spare minute, times when it feels like nothing's ever going to change.Obviously, we have no control over some changes, but with thought and planning, there's changes that you can instigate toward your writing goals.Otherwise, you may find that the only changes you see, besides those life throws at you, might be those between television channels, what you have for dinner or which photo you update your Facebook profile with.
If you don't change something now, in years to come, you may regret it.I can say this because I have grey hair—which makes me supposedly wise. Although I'm not technically old enough to have grey hair, so I also possibly don't qualify to be wise yet.However, I'm a well-practised woeful crier but have made changes in my 'routine' to accommodate my writing. There's never enough time, but there's some time.
If you're a woeful crier, perhaps it's time to think about what is consuming your time—that in fact, is faffing-about.You probably know what it is.Replace the faffing-about with busy.Busy writing.Every little change goes towards developing a new routine.Even the ten-minute changes.
Simple. Sort of.Isn't it?
I shall stop now for fear of being on the verge of a faffing-about phase.I have some writing to do. What about you?