Hoarding Time

It was a dark and stormy night.
It was a dark and stormy night...

It’s inky and wet outside, the pink and steel-blue sunset is hours gone and stacks of clean laundry abound, awaiting the wee faeries that will arrive after midnight to fold and distribute the crumpled mass to the appropriate dressers and closets. Yes, my imagination is running wild. It must be after dark, and I must be writing.

In a busy house with responsibilities and a full-time job awaiting me in 8 hours, all I can think about is writing. Found moments are like diamonds wrapped in chocolate. An hour in the morning or a few extra minutes after everyone is asleep is priceless. I can write without worry, edit endlessly, and firmly plant my feet on a forward path in regard to my writing goals.

I’ve become a collector of sorts, I hoard found moments. I learned years ago, that unless you put your goals on your daily “To Do” list, they just won’t happen. I make lunch dates with myself to write. One favorite nook is the General Aviation Terminal at the airport. I am not kidding. It has a small cafe, a great view of the runway, sleek private planes and is nearly silent. If I have writers block, I can look out at the small jets with red carpets and expensively outfitted passengers and imagine a fresh scene for my story. Actually, any place that’s quiet and serves coffee works for me. All it takes is one or two lunch dates a week to add significant word count or give the push for a final copy-edit.

At night, I sit with my daughter as she falls asleep and in addition to having the bonus snuggle time, I use my iPad to write, research and catch up on Twitter. Then when I manage to head off to bed, I set my alarm for 5:30am. Sometimes I get up. Sometimes it’s my snooze button. Even 20 or 30 foggy minutes of writing keeps me motivated.

I use my drive time to construct scenes and play out plot turns until I know which one I’ll write down….once I find the moment. I watch people all around me, piecing together an imaginary back story and wonder if any of the revelations might work for my characters.

So often writers say they can’t find time to write. All things are possible. You may have to plan it, schedule it, take a vacation day to claim it, but the time is always there. As writers, we are sometimes too creative in what we let get in the way.

Years ago, in my broadcast days, a co-worker with several small girls and a budding music career gave me candid parenting advice. (Note-I was not married at the time nor had children.) She told me to “Just go in the bathroom, lock the door and turn on the fan. No one will ever ask to come in or when you’re coming out.”

Writing is hard, but for some reason we keep going at it like an addiction. The more we write, the more we MUST write. The more we write, the better we write. The more we write, the easier it becomes and then all those moments build up to a finished manuscript. That is worth the extra effort and persistence.

I’m sure you have your tricks to reclaiming time. I’d love to learn from you.