Finding Your Way In A Writing World

Writing is an art and takes much patience. The first thing you need to do is find your own voice. Anything that you read has its own style of writing and it is up to you to find your own style or voice. Now what does having your own voice mean exactly? It had me stumped. Did I have a voice? I did not know. I found out that it was being able to speak in your own language in your own way whether witty or serious. It takes time to find your own voice and a lot of practice writing. As you continue writing, it becomes more natural and less labored, that is when you know you have found your own voice.

That brings up, how often should you write? Some authors put in multiple hours each day. However, others, who have a full-time job, recommend 5 hours a week. This means devoting a writing time on your weekends. If you do not have that luxury, it may mean getting up at five in the morning twice a week. Usually, if you put it off until the evening after work, you end up too tired that is of course is unless you are a night owl. Only you know when your best writing times are. The important part is setting up a schedule for you to write and sticking to it no matter what. If you are really determined to write, you will do this.

Where do you write? Some people have the luxury of having a computer room. However, even if you don’t, it can be done at the dining room table. It should be a place where there are no distractions. There should be no television, no telephone calls, and no one knocking at your door. There should be no children bothering you every five minutes. This should be a serene place where you are not driven to distraction to constantly do other tasks other than writing. You have to be able to put everything aside and be able to be with yourself and your writing instrument, whether it is a computer or a special ink pen and paper. I do not say pencil because you want the words flowing. Mistakes are for when you write a second or third draft-whether it be ten drafts. The original writing is important as it can further you to write more. It may be an impetus for a new article, chapter, book idea, etc. You may find that it adds nothing to your script and you want to tuck that idea away for another day.

What do you write? That is up to the individual. What are your interests? What do you know about? What do you want to find more about? Can you draw from your past? Do you want to write fiction or non-fiction? Who is your audience? Where would you like to see yourself published? These are all questions to consider. You may try different genres on your own and at first write for yourself and see what comes out. Keep writing no matter how ridiculous it sounds. Write it over and over until you get it to say just what you want it to say. Write to write for your eyes only and be happy in the moment as you write. If you start enjoying what you write, eventually, someone else will like what you write. It is trial and error-a lot of error at first. However, you do not know unless you try.

The most important thing any writer will tell you to do is read, read, and read some more. Get a feel for the words of others to stimulate your juices. See how they create characters, scenes, plots, or how they get their point across. Following the above will get you started writing even if it is for your eyes only.

Making The Time To Write That Novel

Finding the time to write a novel is one of the major issues confronting writers, particularly those who haven’t been published yet. How does one justify to themselves, or to their loved ones, that they need time to write if they have demands on their time, like a job, or a house to be cleaned, a family to be fed, or shopping to do? They make the time.

To make time, one would have to sit down and plan it. If this is not done, then writing will become a haphazard event, dictated by a whim, or a passing urge, rather than a scheduled time. This often results in the book never really being finished. You do want to finish that book, don’t you? Below, I have my own suggestions as to how to make time.

  1. Think about your daily schedule, just like when you do a budget, only instead of money, you’ll be budgeting time.
  2. Then get a nice large desktop calendar, the ones that cost about two dollars. Begin filling in the mandatory slots for the week. Do you have a work schedule, or a doctor’s appointment, a meeting to go to, etc.? Then write these times down.
  3. Next, fill in the times for meals, showers, shopping, socials, etc.
  4. Now look at the times that you are free. Please don’t say there isn’t any time left! There will probably be some time available somewhere. Maybe it’ll be at lunchtime, if you are working, or after dinner, or even during the day if you’re a stay-at home parent (when junior is napping).
  5. If you are a new writer, start slow. Maybe find one hour a day and reserve that for your writing. Go ahead and write the date in the calendar. You just made an appointment with yourself. Now do it for every day of the week. You decide if you want to work the weekend or not.
  6. If you are a more seasoned writer, you will probably need more time. I find that I need a minimum of three hours a day to write. Sometimes I may also use this time doing research for my book.

Once you make that appointment with yourself, that’s the easy part. Next, you have to keep that appointment. There are so many instances when something else interferes with your designated time. I know, I’ve been there. Therefore, you need to have some flexibility. Always have a reserve time slot handy in case you don’t make your date. Although I was pretty regular and rarely strayed from my afternoon schedule, there were times that I just couldn’t stay on track. I learned to be flexible and wrote in the evenings. The important thing to remember is to not stray too far from your schedule, because it defeats the purpose.

Once you’ve scheduled your writing dates, then prepare your work area. Try and have it ready before your designated time. If you have a computer, make sure the printer has enough paper, and there’s a floppy disk available to save your Word files in. If you use a pen and paper instead, make sure you have them handy. Also, make sure you have enough lighting in the room. You wouldn’t want to strain your eyes. Make your writing area as comfortable as you can.

Now try writing for a week. How did it feel? If you’re like me, it felt great. Not only did it feel great writing, but I quickly found out it wasn’t enough time! One does need time to get into the story, to think about the dialogue, to write that chapter. Sometimes you’ll be so absorbed in your writing, that you may surpass the hour you designated, and that’s fine if you go beyond your scheduled time (unless it affects your other activities). There will be other times when you’ll sit there doodling, trying to write something, and it won’t be easy, so you’ll probably finish quicker than the allotted time.

The important thing is to write on a consistent basis. It’s similar to exercise. In order to see results, you have to do it persistently and over a long period of time. A novel can never be written in one sitting! Over the course of your writing, you’ll be learning valuable skills that can only come from experience. Also, you’ll notice that the more you write, the easier it’ll become.

As you follow your daily writing schedule, you will show your loved ones that you are serious about your work, and more importantly, prove to yourself that you can write that novel!

I wrote my first novel in 1-½ years. Being a stay-at-home mother gave me the opportunity to write during my baby’s naps, which averaged about 2-3 hours each afternoon. It is very rewarding to see your novel taking shape. If I could do it, then so can you!