Tip #3: MAKE time to write!

Tip #3: You Don’t FIND time to write, you MAKE time to write!

My good friend Marilyn once asked me how I found the time to write. I simply replied, “you don’t find time to write, you make time to write.” This wasn’t a lesson I learned from John Maxwell. This is a lesson self taught. I mentioned in a previous post about being a dreamer versus making your dream come true. As I pondered on HOW I could make a novel come true, I stumbled across NANOWRIMO which begins TODAY.

nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month helps you fulfill that DREAM of finishing a novel in one month. When I first learned of this method, I tried it out. I failed. But, the next July after completing “Conquering Depression” with Mark Sutton in the summer of 1999, I set aside the month of August to write a novel. I started it on day one and finished it on day 31. That novel became “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”.

Since then, I have learned these powerful lessons:

Make Writing a PRIORITY not only for yourself, but your family unit.

When Mark Sutton asked me to help him write a book on depression, my children were 13 and 10. They didn’t require a lot of attention like they did when they were toddlers. But, I realized in order to finish my part of the manuscript on time, I would have to set aside specific times to write. I sat down with my wife, Sherry, and my kids and this is what I told them:

“I have the opportunity to write a book that will help people with depression. I am committed to writing this book. It is important to me. It is important to those it will help. And, I believe it is important to God. So, I will need to have very specific times during the week when I can write uninterrupted unless there is a life and death situation. Do I have your permission, and most importantly, your support in writing this book?”

The answer was ‘yes’ and Sherry and I worked out a schedule. During the week I would have several hours of uninterrupted time to write. It was tough at first. Not only did I feel like I was neglecting my family, but my son and daughter would want me to help them with homework, or play a video game, you name it. But, once I got into the groove of writing regularly and once they understood, the routine became imbedded in our schedule. I found by being a better organizer of my time, I became a better steward of my time. When I spent time with my children and/or my wife, it was more meaningful.

Design a CREATIVE COCOON in which to write.

In the mid 1990’s the Disney animation department was at the top of their game. With successes like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, Disney was on top of the world. The company built a dedicated animation building in Orlando at Walt Disney World. A guest could actually watch animators at work. From a viewing gallery, one could look out over a huge room filled with animator stations. What amazed me about these individual cubicles were the toys, posters, statues, memorabilia clustered around each animator’s desk. And, each cubicle was different and unique.

I came home and took that design to heart. I added a shelf around the top of the walls that surrounded my study. And, on that shelf I put all kinds of things. Toys from my childhood. Memorabilia I collected over the years. Posters. Signs. Awards for my writing. I surrounded my self with CREATIVE CUES. Whenever I would sit down to write, all I had to do was glance around me to find a tiny spark of imagination.

Also, setting aside a specific area for writing helped me to focus those creative energies. It allowed me to escape from the real world and step into my imaginary worlds. I even purchased a mockup of the communication panel from the Starship Enterprise copied from the original show and placed it near the door to my study. Whenever someone walked by, it would “woosh” like the turbolift doors opening and alert me that reality was about to intrude into my fantasy world!

When you sit down to write, WRITE!

Now that you have set aside a time and place for writing, don’t squander the opportunity.  God has given us only a certain amount of time. If you have successfully worked out that precious hour to write and that special place, be a good steward of that time. Don’t spend it surfing the Internet, checking email, updating Facebook or Twitter. Spend it WRITING! Even if you don’t feel like writing that day, write SOMETHING! Once you begin, the creativity will flow!

Set specific deadlines for your writing. Set a goal of writing a certain number of words or chapters a day. Put a deadline on when you will finish the rough draft. When I was awarded a five book contract with Realms Books, I had to develop a deadline for each stage of the book and each subsequent book. I wasn’t able to deliver a book a year without that deadline. But, I did it right up through the fourth book. Unfortunately, Realms dropped all of its speculative fiction authors right before my second book was released. But, I had finished the third book and had turned it in and I was almost finished with the final draft of the fourth book. I had to stay two books ahead of the release schedule. It was insane, but it was a blast!

Now that I no longer have a traditional publishing contract, I am trying to stick to that schedule and release a book a year. Here is what I was able to do by following these three simple guidelines:

Contract signed for five books in April, 2010

The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral  Eye” released in October, 2011 by Realms.

The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” released in October, 2012 by Realms.

The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” released November, 2013 by Westbow Press.

“Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Finding Happiness” released by B&H Publishing in September, 2014

“The 10th Demon: Children of the Bloodstone” hopefully released by April, 2015 by ????

So, there you have it.

Check out NANOWRIMO TODAY! And, remember those three tips:

You don’t FIND time to write, you MAKE time to write by:

Make your writing a PRIORITY for you and your family unit.

Design your CREATIVE COCOON.

Sit down and WRITE!

About Bruce Hennigan

Published novelist, dramatist, apologist, and physician.

Posted on November 1, 2014, in Breaking News, My Writing, Speculative Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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