Thursday, May 03, 2007

Writing After Hours

So most of us who love writing work a day (or night) job that supports our habit, something I've written about on numerous posts.

This weekend, one of workshops I wanted to attend but didn't (because I wanted to see Victoria Rowell and Eric Jerome Dickey) was a session called Writing After Hours.
It was aimed at those of us who work or do school full time and write. It featured panelists who do both.

My writer friend Fiona Zedde managed to secure some notes from the session, and there are some tips that sound pretty promising to me as I continue to navigate two career world. Hope some of these are helpful for you.

1. Using commute time. The commute time is a wonderful opportunity to use to think about your story, jot notes, or record ideas. The panelists offered that turning off the radio/talk shows while commuting helps you focus on story. Of course, if your commute is a train, using your iPod with soft jazz or classical music can help with concentration.

2. 5 - 10 pages a day. One panelist offered that after hours writers plunge forward and shoot out 5 to 10 pages of work a day. Within a few short weeks there is a working draft of a novel that will most definitely need revising. But the object, since time is often a challenge, is to finish something. ANYthing. Because most of us who start... don't.

3. Use break time at work. Often, we have down time during which Internet research can be done. Fifteen minute breaks can be used for jotting notes, recording dialogue, scribbling in notebook. At my day job at the university, I hear and observe a lot that is a catalyst for ideas. Use those moments to help move your story forward.

4. Wake an hour/two earlier. Use one/two hours at night. Pretty straight forward. Often, that might mean giving up or DVRing a favorite tv show, missing a night at gym, or being a little sleepy in morning. I personally love the early morning hours -- 4:30 to 6:30 -- for writing. But that's just me.

5. Give up Internet. Well, not completely. But I have wasted many an hour Internet surfing, doing emails with my favorite people, etc... when I was supposed to be writing. Internet is fine. But trying to remain disciplined in the use, especially while working on a writing project, helps.

Anyway, take what you want. Use what you can. Offer suggestions here if you have ideas for Writing After Hours.

1 comment:

BronzeBuckaroo said...

Number 5 works for me. To write, I cannot go on the net, even post to the blog is an inconvience. I tried writing in other various places. No good. A quite room, sometimes maybe a favorite jazz cd in the background and just letting my mind wander works. The tune on the cd will sometimes set a mood for me and story. This sounds stupid I guess. Othertimes, I just need the quiet time to write.