Monday, July 13, 2015

Writing while life happens

As I write this, I am seconds away from having spent the weekend away with extended family. By tomorrow morning my time, which is about sixteen hours from now, I need to have finished this blog post and two separate homework assignments that I've barely gotten even started. Not to mention the short story I really need to get done. A month from now I'll be heading to Spokane for Worldcon right in the middle of the second draft round of my next novel. At this very moment I'm unemployed but I've written with a day job with an hour's commute in each direction. There are a few things that I've noticed that help whenever life happens at me. Of course I'll endeavor to them with you, my fine readers.

Inside the frantic writer's mind. (Assistants and George Frederic Watts - Chaos)

Make plans

Plans are important. They help you know what kinds of  deadlines are coming up and how much headway you need to make in various projects to be safe. Or, if life happens at you unexpectedly, which projects you can push off if need be. This also allows you to let any people who are waiting for your writing know well in advance that you might have trouble delivering said writing on time.

Even if you're not under a publishing contract, it's still a good idea to have deadlines for yourself, if only so you can get things done in a timely manner.


If you know in advance that there's a chance that life might be happening to you soon, it's a good idea to  prepare. Work harder to get your upcoming deadlines into a state suitable for life to happen. Also be sure to know your own limits. If it's hard for you to write new fiction while traveling for example, make sure you've got something to edit or plot, whatever is better for you while you're not as productive as you'd like.

Write when you can

There's one post keeps coming back on my dash on Tumblr. It tells all the writers out there to write one sentence. Not to take fifteen minutes here and there to write. Just write one sentence. There's almost always time to write that one sentence. Unless of course you're Kameron Hurley and write best in monstrous, 10,000 word chunks. But even if you are Kameron Hurley, write when you can. Your can will just be different than us in the "write one sentence" crowd.

Give yourself some slack

Whether you're traveling or otherwise indisposed, it's a good idea to be able to forgive yourself when you inevitably fall behind. Just keep writing. Anything. It doesn't have to be the stuff that rocks the world. Just get words down, any words, in a somewhat coherent continuum.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with this: whatever's happening, take a page from Neil Gaiman
Make good art. Make it on the bad days and make it on the good days too.

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