Saturday, 19 June 2010

Writing habits: how much time do you need to write?

How are your writing habits?

Do you scribble on shopping lists, used envelopes and newspaper margins?

Congratulations, you've developed excellent writing habits.

Most would be writers assume that you need perfect conditions to develope as a writer.

They couldn't be more wrong.  The more time you have the less likely you are to make it. 

Remember, activity expands to fill the time available.  Making cups of tea, checking the washing, having a walk round the garden.

All these can be justified by 'I have plenty of time.  I don't need to start for another 10 minutes, half an hour or half a day.'

It's when you've only got ten minutes, that you can be at your most creative.  Don't go for the long essay title or think you'll write a complete article, though you might.

Scribble down the important facts of what you want to write about.

Use bullet points, 1.2.3 format.  Use whatever it takes to capture those ideas.

Then when you have half an hour, expand your notes into the format you want.  An article, the bones of a book chapter, a blog entry.

There's a wonderful short story by Somerset Maugham called the Lotus Eater who goes to a small island to create the definitive novel.  When a colleague visits him several years later, the would be novelist is lazy, drinks too much and hasn't written a word.

Here's to not having enough time.

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