Part of my ability to get words down into a word processor comes from Routine.
I used to think that I could only write when the ideas came. That’s why I enjoyed reading books. It seemed to me that writers were magical people that had ideas all the time and had no problem getting them out onto a piece of paper. Maybe, I thought, they just mailed in their great ideas to a Book Maker who immediately realized how wonderful it all was and sent it to press.
My first writing-advice came from the Rivan Codex by David Eddings. In that book, he talks about being a writer in his prologue, speaks about how he developed his fantasy stories. He talks about Editing, something that I wasn’t familiar with in my teens. I remember realizing then as I read that book that there was so much more that went into creating a book than just writing.
In college I learned that you don’t just sit down and create a masterpiece. I mean, of course SOME people do. I know Dean Wesley Smith is a big proponent of not editing your story to death. However when you’re in that beginning phase of learning the craft, you have to throw a lot of pots before you get one that makes it though the kiln without shattering.
The key to that practice is routine. When I was learning Clarinet, I had to put in an hour of practice a day. When I was attempting to learn my multiplication tables, it was repetitive routine. When I am learning skating skills for Roller Derby, it’s focused skating to teach my muscles where they need to gain strength.
Writing is no difference.
My routine, at the moment is as follows:
Alarm goes off at 5:45am. Get up, put on robe and slippers, find glasses. Go to desktop and plop bottom in chair. Turn on music and put on headphones. Open up word processor. Type until 6:30. Get up and go get ready for day job. Come home from day job. Do an hour of making dinner, picking up or whatever small errands need to be attended. At 7, come back to chair and put butt in it. Open up word processor. Work until about 9:30. Go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.
There are days that are challenging. On Monday, I had some afterwork responsibilities. On Thursday I have an event I’m attending with a friend. Both of these things break into the evening word count. On those days, you make up where you can. Sometimes I’m able to get the words in at lunch at work. You just have to find those ‘dead times’ in your day where you wouldn’t normally be doing anything.
I dream that one day when I go full time (Not before 2019 the rate I’m going) I can just work for blocks of time and won’t need to snatch here and there, but even full time writers have to make the time to get things done. Rock those writing routines, y’all. It’s amazing what we can get done in 15-30 minute stretches.