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Juggling Life and Writing

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Anonymous asked: “I am infatuated with a story that I’ve explored for years, so I’ve managed to write some snippets. Each time leaves me feeling silly, like I’m not “Really Writing”. Years ago, I would write for at least 2hrs/1000 words a day. Nowadays my living/working conditions don’t leave me with much time/space/energy for serious projects. I think my problem is not having that structure that I used to, which convinces me to wait until my circumstances are better. I later change my mind. The cycle renews. What should I do?”

I think having structure for it really helps. Sometimes though, you have to make your own structure to allow for time to write regularly. It doesn’t need to be that you write everyday, but start maybe with a couple days a week. Think of times in your day that you can write. 

It might at first mean keeping a journal in your car and only writing in it while you wait for things (I don’t mean at red lights) but for instance, picking up kids from soccer practices, or from school, or bring it in with you when waiting for a doctor’s appointment. You’d be surprised how much time you spend “waiting” and this could be a good first step. 

Then, find time in your week where you’ve got an hour to do something. It might be that you spend an hour writing instead of watching TV (or Netflix), or a time in the afternoon before making dinner. It’s a matter of finding a time (and it doesn’t need to be a lot of time) to sit down and begin writing. You don’t have to write for hours on end either. Not everyone can do that. Someone told me once to set the bar low. Write a page. 250 words. That’s it. That’s the amount to strive for. 

And you know what? I wrote a lot more after hearing that. On days I might not have written anything, I’d still just write a page. If I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t make myself write more than 250 words. Now, that’s my minimum. So, even if you don’t have hours to commit to writing. Most people can write 250 words in under a half hour. An hour might be the most it can take. (Please note, I’m talking about writing prose.) Start small and start with the time you can manage. 

Little snippets of 250 words each when done a few times a week will add up quickly. You might end up writing much more than 250 words and that just will pile up pages faster. So, don’t be afraid to start small. It’s a start. 

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