Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making More Time to Write - Part 2

by Karen Dupaix

This is the continuation from last week of my notes from a very good ANWA meeting lesson on making time to write, given by Connie Sokol.

4. Built-in Boundaries. Connie said to go back to exercise number three (finding free time that we often don't see as free time) and choose activities that you already attend, but don't necessarily need to be focused on. She gave the example of a game or swim meet/track meet. You're going to want to be fully focused when your kid is in the forefront, but often there are times when you're just waiting for something to happen and you don't need to be fully focused. She also said that when we use predictable, repeat events, our brain gets into the writing groove more easily. I found this to be true when I wrote in the car while waiting for my son to finish his summer school class. We were asked to write three activities during the month where we could possibly write instead of just sitting or vegetating or looking through magazines, etc.

5. Writing Center. Connie suggested creating a mobile way to write anytime, anywhere. She told us of finding a lap desk that works very well for her. It even had a cup holder. I purchased a Dana on Ebay for about $35. I love the light portability of it and the long battery life. Now I need to find a lap desk.

6. Balance. Connie said that as we live a more balanced life, our writing will be more colorful and lively, with more detail. She suggested that every day we choose five daily absolutes that will keep us happy, fulfilled and sane. They would be different for each person. Assign each of the five to one of your fingers on one hand. Make sure you do them every day, and enjoy the results.

7. Deep Stuff/Surface Stuff.  Not every day is conducive to deep writing, yet it is important to write every day. Remember that some days it's okay to choose to write surface stuff--research, re-type, revise. She suggests using tabs in a binder or some kind of computer program to keep track of To Dos. When you have a To Do list of things you need to research or rewrite, you can take advantage of unexpected writing time by writing in the notes section of your cell phone, iphone or ipad. Nobody says you have to write chronologically from start to finish. You can write scene starters on a blank document on the computer or on 3x5 note cards and write in whatever order you want. Pick a card and start to write. It all counts.

8. Reward Yourself. I like this part. Connie said to reward yourself daily. Make a list of your favorite things and reward yourself with them. Try paying yourself Five dollars every time you write (see, you're a working writer already). Put that towards a writing conference, laptop, iphone, book, or Barnes and Noble time. Or, reward yourself with writing time--for each housework chunk or family project, give yourself an hour to read or write. Consider what rewards motivate you to earn more reading and writing time.

So, that was her presentation. It was great and I'm excited to try some of her ideas. Let me know what works for you!


Michael Knudsen said...

Good stuff, Karen. The mobile idea is especially important. These days, if you're tied to a big ol' desk, you're not likely to get all the writing time you need, especially if you have either a family or a day job, and who doesn't?

Karen Dupaix said...

I agree, Michael. I also seem to write more freely from a feet-up position (on my bed or sideways on a couch) than I do at my computer desk. Maybe the creative juices just flow better that way?