Who has enough?
I know I don’t. Looking at a typical workday, I don’t know how I find time to write. Out of the day, 10 hours are removed for things like work, commuting, and personal maintenance (showering, brushing teeth, etc. –yes, this is important!). That leaves 6-7 hours. Anymore than that, I’m stealing from sleep, which directly sabotages my creativity.
Six or seven hours sounds like a lot of time left over for writing. It isn’t. There’s so much that needs to happen in those hours: keeping up personal relationships, shopping, taking care of pets, yard work, cleaning the house, making meals, etc. You get the picture–it isn’t 6 or 7 hours left for writing.
I belong to a couple of writing groups. They critique my work, so I believe that I must critique to the best of my ability their work. And that takes time. Right now, I’m near halfway through my 1stnovel with a group. During the week, I have to prep my next chapter, which is anywhere from 1k to 2k words, and I have to take the critiques of the last chapter and incorporate the suggestions I agree with into the story.
Like most things in life, the skill of writing never achieves perfection; there’s always something more to learn. So, I need to fit in time to better myself as writer, whether it involves grammar, story construction, or using Scrivenerto its fullest. (One side note: If you’re a writer, I highly recommend Scrivener. It’s the best $40 USD I spent on writing. Right now, I’m reading Scrivener for Writers and anticipate this Scrivener For Dummies’ publication.)
A little side note: I’m reading a book on body language to help show the reader an action instead of telling a reader the action. For example, I can write: John was angry and walked toward Steve. That’s okay, but, frankly, a little dull. An alternative is: John, his fist balled tightly and eyes wide, marched toward Steve. The reader understands that John is angry by the description (and probably by the context too) without having to just tell him so.
What else happens in these 6 or 7 hours? Reading–I don’t believe you can write if you don’t read. Research–I’m writing about matters/concepts that I don’t know a lot about. For instance, I’m researching viruses and prions for my next novel as well as powers sources and travel that bypasses the speed of light limit. Outlining/character construction–I tried writing by the seat of my pants, and the results were unsatisfactory; I have to have a plan, the more detailed the better.
In the future, I need to add finding an agent and marketing myself, which will entail going to conferences and conventions. In fact, this blog is the start of the marketing effort.
And after all of that, there’s the creative writing part of writing. I can’t imagine how writers with children find the time. They must steal it from sleep. I’m not sure how they do it on a consistent basis and still be creative. I can go well for an extended time on 6 hours sleep. I can even go occasionally on 4 hours sleep. Anything less on a consistent basis leads to every effort (work and writing) suffering.
The problem is obvious: work takes up too much time. If I “fix” that problem, then I have a bigger problem: I like to eat.