I am an extremely fortunate writer.
I repeat the above to myself every time I feel dejected about my craft. Circumstances of my life and schedule (currently) makes it possible for me to commit time to writing:
- I’m self-employed, and on a schedule I set for myself.
- As an editor, I can work anywhere with my laptop — at home, at a friend’s house, at coffee shops, and while travelling.
- As part of my schedule, I can set aside time to write.
Every week (with the occasional exceptions) I meet with two writing colleagues to sit at a coffee shop and work on our writing projects. I met M. and H. while we were all enrolled in the Creative Writing program. Our first writing date occurred in the summer of 2013. Over six years later, we’re still helping each other “show up” to write.
We support each other with the mutual agreement to arrive at a designated place. Sometimes, we read and critique drafts. Mostly though, we talk about the process, the highs and lows, the successes and struggles. I cannot imagine my writing life without this group.
A private group has done wonders for me, but it’s not the only way to foster dedication to the craft.
* Pink timer, courtesy of Claire McEwen’s Blog
Some people are excellent and self-motivation. (I envy them!) Writing time can be a successful solo pursuit done on paper, on the computer, or dictated. I’ve heard of wonderful online resources, like timers and websites with typing boxes and prompts. A writing friend once told me about an app that actually disables your internet for an allotted amount of time so that all you can do is write.
For those like me, who need a little communal nudging, the writing group is an incredible thing. While I have the luxury of having friends who also write, there are also public meet-ups for writers who like the idea of group activity, but no one they personally to do it with. For example, there is a group called “SHUT UP AND WRITE” that gathers weekly at a designated place and uses the Pomodoro Technique. Just look them up, find out where the next meeting is, and show up!
For those of you out there that find themselves most comfortable somewhere between solo-writing and communal-writing, there is plenty of online “meetings” you can get in on, in several forms. You can talk about writing on forums, plan virtual writing-dates with groups where you know at least one other person is committing to writing time. There’s the power of Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime, the list goes on and on.
Whatever your method, the decision to sit down with your writing is a big one. Life presents with us with so much else to devote our time and energy to that it can be near-impossible to carve out an hour to sit with our projects. If all you can do is set your egg timer to 10 minutes and write until the ding, I would call that a win.
Let me know how you manage your writing time. I would love to hear about what works for you!