Writing a Cozy Mystery Part 4: Time and Writing

This morning I sat down at my computer. The phone rang and my neighbor had run through her options and needed a ride to a doctor’s appointment. That’s a legitimate reason to not write.

There are, however, lots of other reasons that are not valid. We must discover how to put our writing into such a groove that we cannot be sidetracked.

The first task a writer has is to discover when they write most fruitfully. Some people need a feeling that the world is on hold. They write at dawn or deep into the night.

Others of us write to escape what is going on around them. This can enable you to write anytime there’s a moment of freedom. When I worked at a desk in an office, I learned that there were such moments all day long. So I kept my story open on one screen and flipped to it whenever I could. Even if it was just a sentence or jotting down a thought, I was progressing. And I found that my subconscious continually mused upon the story and was actually productive of insights and new ideas.

At home, the best tool I have is a timer. When reluctant to work, I set the timer for an hour and vow to persist. I burn a candle and try to emulate its steady flame. I also put a quarter in a Japanese cat bank each day in order to “feed the kitty” of my writing symbolically. It really does help me to sit down and feed my manuscript.

Sadly, the people who urge you to write will also assume that you will drop your writing when they want something. Some will tell you that you’re living in a castle in the air, some will mention the competition, others will be jealous that you take time to concentrate on your art. The biggest stick of all to beat you with will be that you aren’t making any money and are never going to be famous, or even published, so why be so selfish as to not do what they want at this moment?

Don’t listen. You deserve time to be yourself. If writing is a part of you, the rest of the world will adjust. They may never be supportive, but they will become resigned to your dedication. If you ask for more, you are dissipating your energy.

Write! Right now.

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About thebooksonmyshelf

Welcome to my blog. There's always a revolution going on in my home -- between art, writing, thinking, and three boy cats, there's rarely a moment without something hopping. I have lived in three major cities and now am in a small wonderful rural town. The proud author of the world's longest first-draft cowboy novel, I am now plowing into the realm of the cozy mystery. Come along and see how my journey through the woods of inexperience turns out.
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