One of the many challenges you will encounter while pursing your desire to write, is finding the time. Like many authors, I have a fulltime job that is stressful and can expect to be called on at any time should a cyber incident occur. I love the job and as I write about technology, it is an ideal occupation for me. Of course I would love to be writing fulltime and when I think about it I actually am.
Writing isn’t just about putting words on paper. I think a lot about what I’m writing along with the whole host of other tasks that a modern indie or hybrid writer has to contend with. I want to write so I make the time. I wonder if I would write more if I didn’t have a career. I like to think I would and that will take discipline when that time comes. I get up early and put in two hours in the morning which consists mainly of writing and re-writing, but also doing a bit of catching up on articles and posting on social media. This routine suits me. Fortunately I’m used to early starts and don’t sleep much anyway, so this protected time works well for me. If I am behind on my word count I may work again in the evenings to catch up, but I’m more likely to be reading books and making notes about my own work to assist with writing the following morning. What I’m trying to say here is, in my world I am writing all the time. I may not always have a page to show for it on some days, but I will have notes and ideas jotted down that I will use in the days to come.
Finding time to write comes down to what your priorities are and whether you genuinely have some time to yourself. I get that’s not always the case, but writing is about setting achievable goals. No point in worrying over a target of 2000 words a day if you are lucky to put down five hundred. Make the five hundred your goal and congratulate yourself in doing so. Forget about what other people are doing. If they have time to post their wordcount on social media, fair enough. It’s not for me, and everyone’s circumstances are different. I have to work fulltime to allow me to write. It would be nice if my writing paid the bills, but I’m not there yet. So I work with what I have, and use whatever time I can to write.
Writing a little each day and doing so as regularly as you can will result in a draft novel eventually. It may not go as quickly as you would like, but that’s writing for you. I know I can get frustrated at progress, but I accept it for what it is and do what I can. For example, I was hoping to have the third draft of The Kill Switch completed by the end of January. I’m seventy percent through and word count on target as I rewrite and improve on what is there. At this rate I should make seventy-five percent by the end of the month. I’m a few weeks behind, but I don’t intend to push myself to finish in the next few days as I’m fortunate to be working to my own deadline. It is going well at the pace I’ve been working at this month, so I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and I will be finished mid February.
I hope this has given you something to think about if you are considering the time you have and the time you spend on your own writing. Writing isn’t about spending all day with a pen in hand or a laptop in front of you. Yes, I write first drafts in four weeks, but I’ve learnt how to do that, and I want to do that and make the time to do so. You can choose to tackle a novel in any way that works for you and if the first draft takes three or six months or a year, then that is okay. That’s an achievement and one you should be proud of. Not everyone makes it to the end and when you do, celebrate it.