Please welcome Suzannah Windsor Freeman, better known as Suzannah Write it Sideways, to Writer Unboxed. Suzannah was one of our finalists for the Unpublished Writer position, so you’ll see posts from her 3x annually from now on.
On Suzannah’s application, she wrote:
Stephen King said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
I work hard. My writing journey began with no industry connections and little meaningful experience. Hard work afforded me degrees in English and education. Hard work is what improves my craft day by day. Hard work has built my online presence and allowed me to connect with many published writers.
Talented or not, hard work is what will help me get published.
And if that doesn’t make you love her instantly, we don’t know what will. Please enjoy her first post.
Has Your Writing Routine Become A Writing Rut?
After the birth of my second child, I decided to commit to a structured writing schedule. Without it, I knew I’d struggle to find time to write with all my added responsibilities.
My new schedule worked perfectly. I wrote fiction in the early morning, after the baby was fed and the rest of my family was still asleep. Blog posts and non-fiction articles got my attention during the daytime hours, between mommy-baby time, feedings, and chores. I find it difficult to write at night, so that’s when I read–for both pleasure and professional development.
Everything was going well for the first few months, but things went awry when my baby’s sleep patterns began to change. I couldn’t keep up with the schedule, and due to non-negotiable blogging commitments, it was my fiction that suffered.
Something had to give. The writing routine, which had once empowered me, now had me imprisoned.
I had conditioned myself to think I could only write at prescribed times, and under certain conditions.
My mindset had me thinking: morning=fiction, afternoon=blogging, evening=reading, In reality, I should have been thinking, “You have a new baby. Write whatever you can, whenever you can!”
In order to keep up with my new circumstances, I’m endeavouring to change a few things about my writing routine:
- Write at different times. I may find it easier to focus on fiction first thing in the morning, but who says I can’t work on it at night? This is a purely psychological limitation I’ve placed on myself, and one I know I can overcome with a bit of practice.
- Change my writing medium. I never write with a pen if I can help it. My handwriting is atrocious, and I find typing more efficient. Still, I’ve discovered it’s far easier to write on paper than on a computer when you only have one hand available. These days, I rarely have two. Better to write on paper than to not write at all.
- Write in different places. I want to stop associating my writing time with a certain spot. Usually, you’ll find me with my laptop on the couch, but I’m attempting to find new places to let loose my muse–maybe at a park, the beach, or even curled up in bed.
- Get past the silence. I have a lot of difficulty writing when there are other noises around to distract me, which means I’ve limited myself to writing when the house is quiet. Instead, I want to condition myself to write with some level of background noise, starting with quiet music, and eventually building up to everyday household sounds.
I’m a huge proponent of maintaining a writing routine, but I’ve come to realize any routine is only as good as the results it gives you.
Whatever routine we commit to, it needs to be flexible enough to accommodate our current needs–not our needs last month or last year.
Our lives change. We change.
Does your writing routine meet your needs today? What simple adaptations might help you improve the quality of your writing time?
Photo courtesy 123rf.com