Well, another month has passed, and it’s time for our Round Robin already. Where do all the weeks go? It’s a good question to ask for this post, since this week’s theme is on the subject of time – namely, how do we find time to read, and time to write?
My answer to the first question is easy. I’m always reading. I don’t need to find time at all to pick up a book. I always have time to read. What I need to do is put my book down and get other things done! Sometimes I wonder if there’s such a thing as being addicted to reading. I find I read newspapers from cover to cover; even the backs of cornflake packets get scanned as I’m eating breakfast. Some time I plan to see if I can get through two days without reading a single thing. It will be tough!
Finding time to write is a different matter altogether. I’m not one of those writers who loves to write and is forever found scribbling away on the backs of old envelopes and napkins, dreaming up the next scene. The part of writing I like best is working out a new idea – when everything is new and shiny and fun, and I’m not struggling with the “saggy middle,” or having to go back several chapters to make sure I’ve foreshadowed certain events, or made my hero’s character consistent, etc. I also love writing a dramatic scene. Both those things come easily, and in those situations I find myself even able to put down my book and get on with writing for hours at a time.
The rest of it, though, in the words of best-selling author Catherine Gaskin, is “a slog.” Sometimes I struggle for a long time just on how to close a chapter. I’m a slow writer, and one of my resolutions this year was to attempt to speed up a little. I already use a technique called the Pomodoro technique, which I’ve written about before here. Basically, I set a timer and write for a specific amount of time (usually 25 minutes). When the buzzer rings, I rest my mind for five minutes, either getting up to make yet another cup of tea, or doing a few rows of my knitting, or watering the plants, or anything else that doesn’t involve deep thought. I am NOT allowed to check Facebook or Twitter in those five minutes…or pick up a book!
Everyone has a different method of working, but I find by allocating my time like this I’m less likely to procrastinate. I really can’t advise people on finding time to write, as I’m not a good example of writing productively. All I can say is, writing is 1% inspiration (the fun bit) and 99% perspiration. If you really want to complete a novel, you just have to put your bum in the chair and get on with it. I’ve almost finished my fourth novel now, and I hope by the end of this year I’ll have improved in self-discipline and will be able to get past my times of being “stuck” at a certain point more easily.
And here’s a couple of photos of the places where I write. If you look at the first one closely, you’ll see the screen shows the first draft of my novel A Way from Heart to Heart, which was published last November. So you see, all those 25 minute stretches finally added up to a finished novel!
How about you? How do you find time to read? And if you’re a writer, how do you find time to write? Do you have a way to keep yourself on track without procrastinating?
If you have any questions or comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!
And now please feel free to drop in on the other authors in the Round Robin. I aim to visit, too, and see if I can find any advice on managing my writing time!