Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How You Do It

If you read my blog regularly, then you know how crazy my schedule is - airports, hotels, new towns every week, new students to train. I often get this comment "I don't know how you do it." Well, I guess the answer is "I have to."

Every year at conference people ask questions like "how do you find time to write if you also _________?" Fill in the blank with whatever - work another job, have small children, take care of an elderly parent. The reality is, very few writers actually have the time to write. They're people with responsibilities and obligations the same as everyone else.

Writer's MAKE the time to write.

In her workshop at conference, someone asked Stephanie Bond how she managed to write when she was still working full time. Stephanie was a systems engineer. Here is her answer (as close as I can remember):

She had an hour commute on the way to work so she used a voice recorder to work in the car. At work when she sent a job to the mainframe, she had a couple of minutes before receiving feedback, so she wrote notes on a sticky pad that she always kept close by and stuck them all on a pad of paper to use later on. At lunch, since she knew she'd never be able to eat in the office without being interrupted, she went to the parking lot and wrote in her car. More recording on the way home, then she sat down with all her notes, recordings and lunch work and worked again.

That's it, people. There's no secret way to make time to write, because the reality for most of us is, there is no time. My alarm this week is set for 5:15 am. I'm in Tampa, so as far as my body's concerned, that makes it 4:15 am. I don't start class until 9:00. This early morning wakeup is so that I can finish my proposal and my galleys, both of which HAVE to go this week.

Do I want to get up at 4:15 in the morning? Hell no! But I want a career as a writer more than I want to sleep. And to be successful, you're going to have to want it more than the things you will give up - and there will be a long list of them.


Jaye Wells said...

The no time excuse drives me nuts. A lot of times these people are the same ones who can give you detailed synopses of current primetime TV shows.

Jana DeLeon said...

lol, jaye - you are so right on that one. I watch some tv, but record everything so that I can speed up the process and watch without wasting time on commercials. Right now, I'm two weeks behind on So You Think You Can Dance. :)

Tori Lennox said...

I used to write more when I was working than I do now. Of course, I didn't have the health problems then and my brain was sparking on more cylinders than it does now, too. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

hi tori - stephanie also admitted that she was more productive when she was working. There's probably some truth in the "if you want something done ask a busy person" statement. I don't think it has to be that way though. I hope for the chance to prove the naysayers wrong, because I really believe I would produce more if I could write full-time. But that would include all avenues of writing - more writing, more marketing, etc. But then, I'm sort of a workaholic. :)

And definitely health affects you in a large way. I have to remind myself to give me a break when I'm down with respiratory problems.

Kelly Parra said...

So true, Jana, we write and squeeze in the time because the books have to get written. *sigh* It's the hardest for me in the summer, but come September I'm hoping to rock and roll!

Jana DeLeon said...

kelly - i know you love your kiddos, but i also know you'll be happy for them to be back in school. :)

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