Can the monster be silenced?

Let me call this part 3 of The Need to Write (can I do that without being too cheesy?)

There is something in us that forces us to write. We would not decided to be a writer, as someone chooses to be a doctor (at least I don’t think so.)

I have learned to write in spurts. Having children has taught how to use small amounts of time productively. Often, days go by and I never get to sit and release them. Ideas and words collect inside, and seem to self-propagate, like self-seeding weeds.

I find myself wondering if I can somehow be more productive and use my time more efficiently. Perhaps, I think, the writing monster in me would go back in the closet and not open the door for a little while. I think though, that once it has a taste of freedom it won’t accept silence for long.

On a recent blog (that I cannot locate), a writer was saying that she tries to write on the same days and time. In this way, her mind is trained, and knows when it will have its release. I think I will try to do that.
Do any of you have a writing schedule, and does it work?

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26 thoughts on “Can the monster be silenced?

  1. I think I write better in the mornings … I don’t feel awake enough to speak or move, yet somehow I can write! But I don’t have a set time limit. Heck, since I have a lot of alone time, I sit here for as many hours as I can get away with.

    I edit more at night; that uses a different part of my brain, I guess.

  2. It’s very true. I have to be in a completely different frame of mind to edit. I am more awake at night, so my thoughts about getting up before the kids might work out with the writing (the subconscious does it all anyway.) I would feel sorry for my family – they would have to spend the day with a tired grump, but I think my rhythm would change after a bit.

  3. Nope–just a 4 pages-per day requirement. Usually I’m too busy to write every day (life w/ 5 kids is like that), but my monthly average has to come out to about four pages per day for me to feel like I’m committed enough to make a career out of this writing business! 🙂

  4. I’ve always been pretty sporadic about my own writing. Sometimes I feel if I’m sitting there and I’m just not in it, I’m just not in it. Stephen King said himself that he forces himself to write for a certain amount of time every day and sometimes he has whole weeks worth of garbage he just throws out. Having a schedule really probably helps maintain productivity. Sometimes if I take too long off it is difficult to get back into a project. I guess it is all about finding balance, but what works for some authors is not an end all be all. That’s the beauty of the craft. The hard part is finding the level of commitment that works for each of us and sticking to it, even when we have those bad days.

    • I really have to read On Writing – I hear of it so often. Thank you for your comment! Whenever I write and have to scrap, I find myself crazy frustrated! Time is just so limtied, there is no time to produce garbage! LOL.
      And I am the same as you, when a significant amount of time passes it is difficult to get back into it, sometimes more than others. Writing through those bad days is though. To find the commitment in ourselves when we just can’t get the words right, or the next scene, or, for myself, the most difficutl is when I am going through a period when I think ‘this is crap! what am I doing??” Thankfully, it all passes, and it’s so reassuring to know that this is something just about every writer goes through.

      • Yeah, I don’t like having to scrap writing either, I don’t mind reediting it to almost the point of completely unrecognizable from the first draft, but just throwing it all out?? That seems like a complete waste of time to me and I tend to just stay away from writing if I’m feeling like the ideas and story just isn’t flowing how I want it to be. One thing that I do, sometimes, that helps to varying degrees if I’m stuck somewhere but have an idea for a scene later down the road, I’ll write out that scene and go back later and try to figure out how to make point A reach point C or Z, whichever the case may be. By the way, thanks for coming over to my blog earlier today and saying hello. I hope to talk to you more in the future.

    • Time can just dissapear! A schedule is the answer for now. Especially with summer and both kiddies home full time. Now, sticking to the schedule….that is the difficult part!

  5. I write on my days off. If someone bothers me, I extend them the courtesy of a disgruntled look and try very hard not to think about certain fingers that could also be extended. Other than that, not really.

      • Thanks, I had a look at a good portion of my second novel last night. Not sure what to think. Maybe I’m being a little too over analytical, but I couldn’t help thinking that some of it was heavy and wearisome.

      • Oh Lawrence – I know that feeling all too well!
        Don’t despair, and maybe you just need to step away from it for a little while and come back with fresh eyes.

  6. I love this topic–My favorite time to write is in the morning, whether it’s creating or editing. But I write whenever I can. I’d write and read and write all day long if I could. When I have days to myself, that’s what I do. Sit there until I get so antsy I can’t stand it. If I didn’t have a family, there would be no balance in my life whatsoever.

    Completely unrelated-is there something different about your blog or am I going crazy?

  7. Every time I sit down to write, I make a schedule for that day. I open my computer’s calendar and consider what other obligations (both necessary and just-for-fun) I have going on on that particular day. I schedule my work-out time, lunch with my husband, the time I need to make dinner, and anything else that needs to be done that day. Then, I see what blocks of time I have to work with and set goals accordingly. My goals vary – some days I go for word count, some days I aim to finish a scene or a chapter. At the end of every day, I evaluate whether or not I met those goals. This translates well into editing, too, when I continue to set specific goals for myself (as opposed to striving for only word count or a set number of pages). I have a chart to track my progress, and I hold myself accountable to it. I’ve found that this works quite well for me! As for specific hours, 9am till noon seems to be one of my more fruitful blocks of time. I try to schedule other obligations around that as much as possible.

    • owlandsparrow, you are a woman after my own heart. I love the way you do this. I used to do something very similar but I’ve gotten away from it, letting my days run me. I’m going to take charge again.

    • wow – this is impressive, owl and sparrow! I have been in need of a schedule for some time now, and am just daunted by the thought of making one! By doing this, do you find you are able to quench your thirst for writing more substantially, as you know your writing routine? This has been my thought. Like eating and sleeping. We know when we need to do it. The body/mind attunes itself. Why not with writing as well?

      • Thanks! It’s not so daunting a task if you schedule one day at a time. Different days call for different goals, and that helps to keep me plowing through this huge project. Some days, I can write a ton of words. Other days, I need to sharpen a scene and hardly increase the word count at all. Some days I just need to let it rest and work on something else for a little while. This way keeps the process fresh, it keeps my expectations in check, and I always feel productive if I set reasonable goals (not too low, not too lofty). I’m learning to listen to the needs of my project, and it definitely quenches the thirst I feel for writing.

      • That is great owlandsparrow! Thanks for running me through it. The few times I have planned what I need to do, I see how beneficial it can be to do a schedule. I realized in reading what you wrote, that another reason I have been procrastinating with setting up a schedule, is that I am worried I would be setting myself up for failure. With having young kids in the house, moment to moment planning has been next to impossible. Yet, I know this is the way to using my time efficiently, and not let it get away from me, as Cynthia noted.

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