That twenty-four hour time limit every day is a bitch.
It’s the one thing in life we cannot change. No matter how hard we try, there’s no stopping the clock. I can’t wiggle my nose and pause everything around me. Though, thinking about it now, had I control of genie from a lamp, I know exactly what I’d wish for…
It’s well established from other posts on this blog that I’m your typical busy -working-writer-mom. That is neither a complaint nor an honor badge — it just is what it is. It’s the life I’ve carved out for myself.
When I talk about my book, Rising, and its pending publication, and its sequel, Release… and the myriad of other projects I have going on related to writing (NYC Midnight Flash Fiction contest, Writing for eHow and LiveStrong, providing resume services, running a D&D campaign, this blog, and my newest project, Faster Than Takeout), I usually get the response of, blink – blink – stare – mouth open – “uhhhhh, when do you sleep?”
The truth is: I don’t. I’m a vampire.
Ok, not really*. I’m also not one of those goddesses with 8 arms, regardless of the somewhat-creepy-image I
swiped from some other site found on Bing.
So what is my magic formula for book completion in a life where it appears from the outside that it’s physically impossible?
Sheer grit, determination, dedication and the art of stealing time.
I find that I write my best fiction before my computer-science-if-then-brain kicks in. AKA, before 10 AM. Apparently, it’s also when I write my snarkiest blog posts.
Ahem… moving on….
Last year, during NaNoWriMo and beyond, until I finished Rising, I dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 5 AM and wrote in a pre-coffee haze. I figured I was writing the first draft… and first drafts are typically lumpy, moldy piles of shit anyway… so why not just embrace it and write early?
Bonus: My kids were never up that early. The house was silent. It was winter, so it was still dark outside. My cat thought it was da-bomb-diggity… she was my furry arm rest for most of my writing time. No one was emailing, or calling, or texting or IMing or sending carrier pigeons. I was literally the only one awake.
(And yes, in writing that last paragraph, I am absolutely trying to talk myself into reclaiming that habit.)
There were other times I was able to carve out and dedicate to writing as well. I find that I edit best after the if-then brain is fully engaged. I made it a habit to edit during my lunch hour at work. I made use of Microsoft OneDrive to keep everything synced, and I didn’t bother with fancy writing programs like Scrivener**. I have a Windows phone with Office installed, so I could pull up files on my phone. I also had access to my OneDrive at work. I could get to my documents from anywhere, at any time, for any reason.
The last paragraph is brought to you by the letter M – for Microsoft, and the symbol $ – for… Microsoft
I also stole time on the weekends. My ability to do so depended heavily upon an extremely supportive husband who threatened to duct-tape certain children to a wall if they bugged me during my writing hours. I also informed said children that weekend time prior to 9 AM is MINE. If they got up before 9, they were on their own***.
Wait a minute, Shanan… that’s all in past tense. You’re still a writer, aren’t you? Did you give it up?
Good catch, reader!
I’ll fully admit that I fell off the writer-process wagon. I owe my publisher my final draft of Rising, like, three weeks ago (I know, I see you Courtney!) I have another round of NYC Flash Fiction coming up (starting tonight). I have about 40 blog posts and almost as many videos to create for Faster Than Takeout. And I have a certain Book 2 to write for the Adept Cycle.
So yes, I have a process that involves cheating the clock and getting shit done. I just have to… you know… do it.
* Vampires are real. I know. I am one. I just like to keep people guessing.
** I know, I know, Scrivener is like — better than double-chocolate cake made with Guinness, topped with Baileys Irish Cream frosting. I can’t use it. My OCD brain drives me deep into the minutia of ALL THE THINGS, and I never get to the actual writing.
*** My children are 9 and 10, almost 10 and 11. They can make their own damned cereal. I’ll be happy to cook an omelet for them…. after 9 AM.