When Can I Write?

I’m sure my story is pretty standard for today. I work 40 hours as a programmer, leaving me mentally drained. Between training and teaching taekwondo, there goes another 15 hours a week, leaving my physically drained. Since COVID, my husband and I have been doing a lot of renovations around the house, eating up more time and adding stress from having a disassembled home. Yet I have several books worth of stories in my head that are starting to pile up. Before writing a novel, I never thought to appreciate the hundreds of hours a writer puts into crafting a book word by word.

When I tell people that my second novel is “just about done” less than five months after the release of my first, I’ve gotten the question of “when do you find time to write?”

Publishing a book is an extremely simple task today but creating a quality product is not. I can’t guess at the number of hours I spent typing out Realms of Terswood and now Seeds of Farsil. Add in the time I spend thinking through scenes and dialog while driving, in the shower, or while taking a walk. Then add reading the book eight or fourteen times to proof it, despite being completely blind to spelling and grammatical errors by then.

So yeah, the question of “when do you have time to write?” My personal answer is that I took all that spare time that was dropped into video games, watching TV, or practicing guitar and use that to write. Writing has consumed all the spare moments of my life.

I try to put down at least a few words a day. If I don’t have a new scene in mind, I go back and re-read a previous chapter to make tweaks. If I don’t really know where something is going yet, I write out notes, brainstorm ideas, or free flow write for a while, but don’t force it if it’s not going anywhere. I do some of my best writing while driving and just hope to remember most of what I said in the car by the time I get home to my laptop.

I don’t think I have the experience to give any advice to others on how to find time to write the story that’s in their head. Everyone has a different schedule and time commitments. I’d just say whatever time you do have, use it efficiently. If you’re stuck in one spot of the story, revisit another. Go touch up some dialog. If you’re still stuck on what happens next, consider looking back at the events that lead to the present point. Maybe something could be altered to allow things to flow better. But don’t sit in front of the screen doing nothing. If you find yourself drifting over to open Facebook, just get up and come back tomorrow. On the same note, if it’s your usual bedtime and you’re cranking out a scene and the words are flying from you faster than you can type, don’t stop that either. Unless you’d risk losing your day job, don’t cut off the muse when it’s working with you.

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Published by jsamland

Author Jamie M. Samland is an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy. He lives in Michigan with his husband and their cats.

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