Monday, July 13, 2009

The time question

A comment from my previous post asks a question:
"Um, as a fellow writer i was wondering When do you find the time to write? i know i should plonk my butt in the chair and keep writing but I get so frustrated and worried about what happens next. I hate any ideas I come up with and haven't made progress in months and..."

Here's how I see the time question, and I know I could be wrong. . .

The thing about time is that it often disguises other issues. We say we don't have time, but is that really so? I mean, we're all issued 24 hours a day. What do we choose to do with those hours? Even with a hundred commitments, there is always at least some time left over to write. It might be only a few minutes a day, but it's there to be found if we seek it out.

So what's it mean when it feels as if there isn't any time? I think the questioner above is on to something when she says frustration and worry and self-doubt take over. When that happens, time to write seems to disappear. It disappears into the frustration, the worry, and the self-doubt. Time contracts as our fears expand.

How to work with those fears and open up some time? Well, I'm not a psychologist so I can only speak for myself. I think it's important to remember that doubt and fear are natural, normal, and something to expect. (I write about this topic more in my book Wild Ink.) Writing involves digging into our gut, exposing heart and mind, and wrestling with language! Sometimes, it's very hard.

The main thing: Don't get discouraged. Take it one word at a time. Give yourself permission to write badly while working on the first draft. And the second draft. . . Just about every writer struggles with this, so take a deep breath and keep going.

Eventually you'll seize your story. Just give it some time.

5 comments:

story_weaver said...

Thank you! or did I already say that?

Victoria said...

You're welcome. Keep weaving those stories. :)

Celtic Traveler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raspberry said...

I completely agree. I'm a mother of a rambunctious toddler, and yet I find time to read 3 or 4 books a week, keep up a book blog, and shower daily.
My biggest problem would be taking a story in my head (and I'm talking I have all the details as if I was going to tell it to an audience) and putting it on paper. I feel too awkward to 'tell' it to a tape recorder....any ideas on that?
And I am SO sad - you're going to be at the Boulder Book store on the 19th of Nov., and I'm going to be out of town!

Victoria Hanley said...

Raspberry,
Sorry to be such a very tardy correspondent. I've been wrestling too, with the hours--and they win so often you'd think they would take a breather and let me have a big long breather, LOL.
About your dilemma, there are a couple things I'd suggest:
1) Try writing just one page a day. Or half a page--whatever amount doesn't intimidate you too much. Give yourself permission to write badly during the first draft, and just get it written. Polishing comes later!
2) For someone as busy as you are, a tape recorder or voice-recognition software isn't a bad idea. It might be awkward at first, but you can always play with it for a few weeks, recording and erasing so there's no pressure until you get comfortable with it.
Best to you! And sorry to have missed you in Boulder last week.