Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How Much Time Should You Spend Writing?

Are you a writer who enjoys working uninterrupted for hours or even days at a time? Or, can you only concentrate on your story for ten-minute bursts?

Either way, here is how I make the most of the time I have.

Usually, the amount of time I have to write in is the precise opposite of how much I want to write! When I have hours of free time, and no pressure, I cannot get the words onto the page or onto the screen. On the other hand, when I have no time at all -- or, more commonly, when I'm somewhere without any means to write -- that is, of course, when inspiration strikes.

Rather than fighting the inverted relationship between my time and my creativity, I have decided to work with it. When those moments of unexpected genius occur, I jot down whatever I can. If I don't have the time to expand on the poignant scene or surprising bit of humor, I simply write down a basic outline of it. Which characters are pivotal to this part? Would adding another character or changing the setting make it even better?

Then, I save up those scraps of frenzied inspiration and write more about them during the times when I have nothing but time...literally, even to the exclusion of having the will to write, the inclination to sit still, or any grandiose delusions about my creativity.

The result? I manage to share the more creative and interesting parts of my writing, making them stretch to fill pages and chapters, instead of just the paragraph or two that I somehow scribbled down semi-legibly while being jolted on a train.

My advice for today is this: write whatever you can, whenever you can...and save everything. Remember that partial scene involving a wolf with a fear of heights being trapped on the roof of an apartment building? Well, it probably doesn't look like much now, but give it some time to grow.

Come back to write it when you recognize one of your own fears, when you see a wolf at the zoo, or when you get locked out during a cold day. Experience will add depth and detail to your writing, even if you think your genre can't possibly relate to the everyday or the mundane.

Good luck, and keep writing!

No comments:

Post a Comment