This is another topic that is inspired by Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.
Chris said that after the first year of NaNoWriMo he discovered an urge to seriously write the next best seller. He quickly arranged for three months off work so that he could dedicate himself to the edit of the manuscript he’d written during NaNo (which he describes as a very bad rough draft). If he was able to find time to write whilst working ten hour days, meeting friends for dinner a couple of times a week, and still fitting in the house cleaning, laundry and all those errands we just have to do each day, then imagine how much he’d get done if he had all day to write!
I bet you can guess what happened.
He found it hard enough to get out of bed before 2pm, let alone sit down and write. He did everything (including building a squirrel run) but what he planned to do in those three months.
I can relate to this. Every single time I’ve had time off work, I have hardly written a thing. I always feel guilty if I just sit down and start writing, so I talk myself into doing the washing or vacuuming first. That should make me feel better. But it never stops there, because then I feel as if I have to do the dusting and clean the bathroom. Hey, I’ve done just about all the house work by this stage so I may as well finish it off. I won’t have anything to feel guilty about then. Right? Then I’m feeling tired and figure I’ll sit and stare at the wall for ten minutes…while I rest. I end up taking a nap and before I know it the sun is setting and evening has arrived and I’ve wasted the whole day…again. The next day I find some other reason(s) to feel guilty.
The reason for this is: When we are complaining there are not enough hours in the day as we successfully juggle family, work, home and the thousand other things we have to do each day, every second we spend writing is precious. It’s a reward. It’s our special time, just for us. As humans we enjoy precious rewards and make the most of them. But when we have eight hours a day, every day, in which to write, the pressure sets in and writing becomes a chore. We have to produce something great. We have to come up with lots and lots of ideas; there’s no excuse, is there, as we have plenty of time to think of them. We have to prove how good a writer we are. The result is that we find it difficult to write.
For some of us, to be productive, we have to be busy, busy, busy. If you are one of those people, you are out of your mind to try and take all those other chores away. My most creative writing period was when my sons were young and I worked full time. I was only able to snatch a few hours writing time late on a Friday and Saturday night, but I managed to write two manuscripts with word counts of over 200,000 words each in that time. That’s a total of about 450,000 words in two years.
Now I still work full time, but I have most evenings to myself these days. In the last couple of years, I’ve written less than 100,000 words. That’s a huge difference. Granted, back in the “olden” days there was no internet to distract me, but that’s no excuse.
Writers write; everyone else talks about it.