Writing In Spite of Your Day Job
edited: Saturday, March 02, 2002
By Diane M. Meholick
Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2002
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Finding time to Write
No matter where I may be--a work-related function, a movie theater, a picnic, or any other social event--I invariably am asked the question, "When do you find the time to write?" The question always gets me talking. I answer it honestly and, hopefully, helpfully as well.
By day I am a Title Examiner for SecoLink Settlement Services, a division of Keybank. In the evening, I'm an author. How do I do it? By being diligent. By writing, at the bare minimum, 5 days out of every 7, even if just for a half hour. As any how-to write manual will tell you, those half hour increments add up over time.
In 2001, my first novel, A Switch in Time, was published. It took me 4 years to write. That may seem like a long time to some, but to me, considering the amount of research I had to do, it was not a long time at all. My formula for doing the research and writing the book was simple. Keep at it. And keep at it I did. I devoured books on John Wilkes Booth and the Civil War. I went to Washington, D.C. and Ford's Theatre. And, I wrote. First, a brief outline. Second, the first full draft. Third, the revision.
How did I fit all this in? I wrote at night, usually after dinner. Oh, I still got to watch my favorite TV shows. I just didn't watch them every week. One week I would write while Touched By an Angel was on. The next week I would watch the show instead. I carried a notebook and pen with me and wrote while waiting in long lines or in the doctor's waiting room. I read books about John Wilkes Booth and the Civil War for the first half hour in bed before shutting off the light and going to sleep. I used my vacations to travel to D.C. and visit Ford's Theatre and investigate Booth's escape route.
Presently, I'm writing another novel entitled, Painting Katherine. The book takes place in my hometown of North Tonawanda, NY. I've followed the same path with this book. Outline, research, first draft and now, doing the revision. This book will only take me a year. Since I still live near North Tonawanda, I don't have to travel like I did with A Switch in Time. I've been able to use the odd day off and weekends to do my research on 1926 North Tonawanda.
But completing Painting Katherine in a shorter amount of time has also meant being even more dedicated to writing. It has required more sacrifice of my social and television time. I've been writing and researching 6 out of 7 days on this book. But that's okay, since it will only be until Painting Katherine is ready for publication, which is planned for November 2002.
So, what is my message here? Simply, if you want to write you will. You will sacrifice TV. You will not go out with friends as often. You will write whenever you can. And if you're like me and love your creature comforts, you will not be the starving writer. You will keep that day job.
Lastly: Want to write? Then sit down like I did, go over your schedule and figure that writing time in. Happy writing!