by Karen Ehman
Writing When Every Season is a Busy Season, by Karen Ehman
Often as writers, we have unrealistic scenarios painted in our minds of how our writing life will go. We envision ourselves snuggled under a blanket, situated in front of a roaring fire, peacefully tapping away on our laptops — all alone. But in reality, fitting writing into our actual lives can be quite a daunting task. We have work demands. There are chores to be done around the house. We may have children or aging parents who need our focused attention. What is an author to do?
Here are some ways to weave your craft of writing into your everyday life.
Create a place.
You may not have an entire room you can set up as a home office, but do your best to create some space in your home where you can work on your writing. When I first began, my space was a small corner in our unfinished basement. I had a rickety card table, along with a folding chair, set up to house the very first hand-me-down computer I ever owned. I stuck a few decorative things on the table and called it good. This very primitive set-up became a haven for me. My mind could get in the groove when I took my coffee mug to the basement to work for a few hours or even a few minutes.
If you simply do not have any physical space to devote to a writing nook, fill a tote bag with all the things you will need to have a good creative writing session: your laptop and cord, a journal and some pretty pens, perhaps a book or two on the craft of writing, etc. Then, you can grab it when you are headed out to a coffee house, library or even a picnic table in a park to have some writing time.
Generate white space.
Many would-be writers assert they simply do not have the white space on their schedule to practice their craft. That may be true with your schedule as it stands. But can you switch up your agenda a bit to generate some white space? Look over your typical week to see if there are some things you can do without in order to free up time to write. It may mean dropping out of an obligation in the community or at church once your commitment period is finished. It may mean giving up an hour a week watching your favorite television show and use the time to write instead. Methodically go through everything on your schedule to see if there is something you can drop in order to pick up your pen instead.
Look for opportunities to multitask.
If you simply cannot drop out of something on your schedule to have a writing session, look for ways to multitask. Writing often involves research. Could you be doing some research on your phone while waiting in the orthodontist office? When my children were little, I would often take them to a local fast food restaurant to frolic in the playland while I proofread a magazine article or part of a chapter. They would occasionally come to my table for a quick hug and a few more french fries, and at the end of our time together, they had played for an hour and I had worked for an hour. It was a win-win!
Remember not all of the writing process involves you sitting at a computer crafting sentences and paragraphs. Finding material is just important. Live alert. Be on the lookout for things that happen in your everyday life that you might be able to use as an example or illustration in your writing. Having this perspective helps you to view your daily life through different eyes. There are situations and conversations happening all around you that might make good material, so be attentive.
Make it a matter of prayer.
Your writing ministry matters to God. Cultivate the habit of praying every morning that the Lord will present you with some pockets of time to write. Also, pray He will open your eyes to the situations around you — and your ears to the conversations you are having — so you might unearth some material to use in your content.
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