Monday, March 5, 2012

Time to Write

Let's face it, we're all jugglers.

I am the youngest of three boys. My brothers both got married and started families long before I did. As the lone bachelor for years, I couldn't understand certain things my brothers had going on in their lives. I wondered how they could go to bed and wake so early. I wondered why they hadn't seen a ball game that HAD to be watched. I wondered why they had no time to go fishing, or shoot some hoops. Whenever I'd ask, they'd laugh and say, "You'll see." Basically, they were telling me once I got married and had kids of my own the answers would all be clear. That I'd understand how strapped for time you are when you are married with children. I usually laughed them off and shook my head.

Well, my brothers were right. I hate that! Now that I am married with child(ren), I most certainly DO see.

My son is an active little boy and my daughter will be "checking in" sometime in a couple months' time. And all this means time is so, so precious nowadays.

I feel like this dude when it comes to writing.

And that leads me to the crux of this post: Time management for writers. 

I know so many authors who claim you MUST write every day, without fail. Even if it's a few words, they say, you must write. These are the “every day writers.”

I do not fall in line with this way of thinking. I’m more of a “binger” (a writer who goes on binges and writes in huge chunks). I write when the spirit takes me over and then I'm like a train barreling straight ahead with an endless supply of coal to keep it moving. I am obsessive with regards to writing, and this very trait (flaw, some might say) won't allow me to write every day. I'd be stuck in an endless, daily marathon of writing from wake to slumber each day. And being a teacher and new parent, I can't do this. So I do everything possible to carve chunks of time away from life to write when I go on my binges.

What about you? What is your routine? Are you an every day writer? Or maybe you’re a “binger” like me? Perhaps a combination? Do tell…

18 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm pretty much exactly the same. When I'm in the midst of drafting inspiration, I'm unstoppable, and can churn out as much as 10,000 words a day sometimes, hopefully half of which are worth keeping in the long run. But I definitely don't write every day. Not even blog posts, which are to real creative writing, like walking to the car to drive to work is to running. In other words: they barely count.

Lily Cate said...

If I could, I would write every day. I definitely put words on paper every day, even if it's just ideas for potential new projects.
As far as productive writing, with a family and a part time job, I have to write when I am able, not necessarily when I want to, so I have become a binger. I occasionally take a day to stay away from writing altogether.

David Kazzie said...

I try to stay on a schedule, about 1K words a day, and I usually write about 5 days a week. When I can binge, I can get 2K a day, but that's pretty rare.

And Matthew, I strongly, strongly, disagree with your point that blogging doesn't count -- it's made my fiction writing much stronger over the 18 months. I've written essays, weekend diaries, Top 10 lists, all manner of things that strengthen my fiction-writing muscles. they don't count to my daily word count, but they still count.

Matthew MacNish said...

I hope they do count, David! Lord knows I write enough of them.

Darby Karchut said...

Like you, I, too, am a teacher (junior high social studies), but I'm an ox when it comes to writing. I plod along, writing for a few hours each evening. Day in and day out. (I haven't watched TV in several years).

Hilary Wagner said...

For me, its whenever and wherever I can. I have so much going on that I have to squeeze it in or it just won't get done. My best writing happens very early in the morning, when I'm up before everyone else or late at night when everyone hits the hay. Who needs sleep anyway? :) I also sit at my son's karate class with my laptop, writing away. I think the other parents think I'm antisocial. If they only knew how much I'd love to chat! ;) What's the adage, If you want to get something done, ask a busy person? ;)

Johanna Garth said...

I'm an every day writer but every now and then I go on a binge. Food doesn't get prepared, hair doesn't get washed, kids watch way too much tv...its not pretty! But the results sometimes are.

Mike Winchell said...

I got that sense that you were a binger too. And with epic fantasy I'm sure it's pretty necessary. Thanks.

Mike Winchell said...

I take days away from everything writing too. I think it's important to do once in a while.

Mike Winchell said...

All power to you for being able to keep a schedule. I've tried but it just doesn't click with me. You know I'm writing when I "disappear" off all things social media for a chunk of time.

Mike Winchell said...

Great that you can do that despite the crazy schedule of a teacher. And also great that you stay away from TV. I watch less and less as I get older. I basically watch like 2-3 TV programs, and then I watch sports. Movies here and there, too.

Mike Winchell said...

Before my son was born my best work was done in the wee hours of the night (I'd stay up till 3-4am writing). After my son was born my writing began to take place in the morning.

Mike Winchell said...

I hear you when it comes to neglecting other things when writing. I am definitely that way too.

David Kazzie said...

MAtthew -- yeah, definitely don't shortchange the value you get from blogging. Truth be told, blogging kept my writing career afloat 18 months ago when I was ready to stick a fork in it.

Mike -- it seems like the grass is always greener on the other side (especially where giraffes graze -- WINK, WINK!). No, seriously, I sometimes wish I were a binger. but to each their own. Whatever gets it done.

Michael G-G said...

I'm an every-dayer. One page is all I ask of myself. As long as that's done, I can either write on or go on to other things. (And that page per day becomes a novel every year.)

Nice post, Mike. Good luck when # 2 comes along!!

Tara Dairman said...

Total binger! Once I get going, it can be hard to stop, but there are also many days where I have too much other work or just too much else going on in my life to write anything. I shudder to think how I will get any writing done at all if I ever add kids to the mix!

Connie B. Dowell said...

I wish I could be an everydayer. I have a feeling I would be better at finding time if I made a little time everyday.

John Zeleznik said...

I'm struggling with this right now. The last week or so, my writing has come to a stand still, mostly because I'm using so much energy at work right now, I'm spent when I get home.

I'm a binger/streaky writer I guess. I've blogged about it before, but I go on stretches where I write a ton and stretches where I don't write at all. I write when I can and now that my daughter is a little older, I can get some more writing done. And I'd gotten pretty good at typing with one hand for a while.