Guest Post from Val Griswold-Ford.
Hello, readers! Laura Nicole was kind enough to let me hijack her blog today to talk about writing and time and my newest book, Winter’s Secrets, which comes out on May 27! It’s full of magical cats, tea, and a musical Advent calendar, which you should seriously check out. And you can head over to my blog to see what she’s been up to recently.
Oh boy, what a topic. Finding time to be creative is the bane of every single artist I know. Especially since no one I know is looking to pay all my bills, clean my house (okay, let’s be honest, I don’t even clean my house), and in general make life go while I sit and create. Although if you are someone who is looking to support someone creating, I’m available. (And my Patreon account is here. I’ll love you for it.)
Seriously, though, I deal a lot with this problem. I’ve got a full time day job. I’m also an investigator with NESS (New England Supernatural Support), and I’m married. No kids, but I have cats, and a roommate. And I’m part of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). I love crocheting, and hiking, and beadwork, and reading.
looks up at the prior paragraph, realizes why she’s constantly exhausted, makes a note to slow down, and laughs maniacally
Despite that busy life, I’m still committed to getting writing done. I need to write. If I don’t, I get really, really cranky, and I’m more awful than usual to live with. It literally will get to the point where my husband and my roommate both banish me to my studio to write before they murder me. Or I murder them.
So I try and make time to write every day. Even if it’s only 100 words, or a snippet of dialogue, it’s something. Because it’s important to me, I carve out that time. I rarely watch TV anymore, since that’s time I could be writing. My World of Warcraft play is down to about once every week or so, because again, that’s time I could be writing. It’s a matter of priorities. If you want to write, you’ll write. If not, you’ll find an excuse. And trust me, I’m good at excuses.
One thing I’ve found that works really well is setting a date to write. Back in November, several of us local to one another realized we were all needing to get words for NaNoWriMo, and we met one Sunday morning at the local bookstore (Gibson’s, which is amazing). After NaNo was over, we kept meeting. Why? Because we were all getting words.
It’s now May, and the only weekends at least some of us haven’t been at Gibson’s on Sunday to write/stitch/color/illustrate are holiday weekends. Even then, sometimes, we’ve been there. It’s a solid date, and it means that we get shit done. Even if my week has been full to the point where I’m not getting anything other than the day job done, I know I can get at least 1k written at Gibson’s.
So here are my suggestions for getting stuff done:
1. Make sure you want to do it.
Seriously. If you’re only being creative because you think you should, if your heart isn’t in it, find something that you DO want to do, and do that. Life is too short to do things you don’t like.
2. Be prepared to make sacrifices.
There will be things you won’t get to do, because you’re writing. Not just watching TV or gaming – there will be cleaning that doesn’t get done, or laundry that will pile up. You might not see friends for a bit. Heck, you might not see family for a bit. During NaNo, there have been times when I haven’t seen my husband all weekend. Luckily, he’s good with that, because he knows how important writing is to me.
3. DO IT.
Just do it. Sit your butt in the chair, grab your notebook, or your keyboard, or whatever, and do it. There’s no magic secret, no special way. Oh, and don’t wait for “inspiration.” Because I’ve found that it’s a fickle thing, inspiration, and relying on it gets nothing done. Just start writing. Or creating. Or whatever you want to do.
4. Ignore your inner editor.
That’s the voice that will tell you that you aren’t good enough, you aren’t doing it right, you need to research, or any of a million other things. It’s basically trying to sabotage you. Ignore it, chain it up, and just do it. You can edit later, but not if you don’t have anything to edit.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do. In the meantime, you can check out the first chapter of Winter’s Secrets here.