I was driving to Sapporo a couple of weeks ago and listened to the SF Squeecast Episode 37 for I think the third time. The Squeecast is a great series of podcasts where SF professionals talk about what’s making them happy in the world of SF, and also about general writing. I particularly recommend this episode for the time-crunched. Maybe you can listen to it while clearing a space for writing in your office (-:.
Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente and guest Amal El-Mohtar talk about the importance of routines, and about juggling not only the different roles we play as writing human beings, but also juggling different writing tasks. There’s a wonderful metaphor buried in middle of the ‘cast (29:13, to be exact) where Cat talks about the act of writing being a lot like going to sleep.
She says, “(T)he good place of writing is like falling asleep, and as a life-long insomniac, there’s no wonder that that’s the image I use. Putting the butt in the chair is like having a glass of milk and laying down in bed and turning the lights out. You hope for the best, but it may not happen. And the more you are out of your own element, the more difficult it is.”
Cat says she can write on the train because it’s really close to her sleeping experience. I find that fascinating, and I can relate to it. Getting into writing mode for me is getting into a little bit of a trance. The world fades, and I am in my story. It’s a tiny bit like that twilight time between waking and sleeping, except my fingers are moving over the keyboard.
I also stumbled across this great time-crunch comment from Lois McMaster Bujold on Goodreads. She talks a little bit about how she managed to balance having small children and a beginning writing career, and it may be encouraging to other people who have small children. She writes of collecting notes, then doing the first draft writing in bursts as she could find babysitters. It fits in with the different writing tasks and the mindsets they require that the Squeecasters discuss in Episode 37.
We just finished the shortest month of the year – I suppose it’s natural to feel a little time crunch. I’m going to try to spend the 31 days of March making my routines a little smoother so I don’t have a crunchy summer. What do you do to make more time for your writing?