Stealing Time

Renee Hammond Writing NovelsAs I’m sure you can appreciate, writing a novel isn’t as easy as it seems. Those beautiful shiny gems lining the shelves of your local bookstore, or available at the click of a button on your electronic device, take passion, motivation and dedication to craft. There is nothing I would prefer to be doing with my time than writing a novel…but time is one of my biggest hurdles.

As a mother of four children, with a husband who is absent from our lives for three quarters of the year, finding spare hours isn’t easy. We have few rules in our house, but this is how we roll…

1. The ‘Arts’ are a real job!

2. If you want something and are willing to put in the work to achieve it, the rest of the family will support, encourage, and cheer you on to the finish line (and beyond).

3. Don’t settle on something that doesn’t make you smile or feel good about yourself, and others.

4. Hard work, dedication and passion reaps rewards in the long run. Success isn’t necessarily measured by the $ in your bank…find your measure and strive to achieve.

5. Be gracious, kind and positive toward others, it may be enough to inspire them to chase their dreams too.

6. Help each other, have patience, and pitch in to lighten the load.

…for us it works. Of course, there are the usual chores such as, keep your room clean, pick up after yourself, and make sure the animals have food and water, but we try to keep life as positive and carefree as possible. This is where the stealing time comes in. I am naturally a night owl, and no matter how hard I try to change my sleep pattern it doesn’t work.

I class myself as a full time writer, so in order to find enough hours to support this, I take advantage of every opportunity I get to pour words onto the page, be it hand written or typed. Yes, you read correctly, I often write by hand. I now have a fabulous new toy that transfers the written word to text for me, but for years I’ve written my first drafts by hand and typed it out afterwards.

Whilst I wait for my children to attend dance classes, or basketball training, I find writing by hand to be more beneficial for me than typing. People are less likely to interrupt when my pen is moving at such a rapid pace. It seems to intimidate them. School pick up, I generally arrive a few minutes early to ensure a parking spot, so I use the time to create and plan upcoming scenes.

I carry a notebook with me everywhere, although I draw the line at the dinner table. I don’t use a handbag, I cart around my writing satchel, which I love. Even my evening clutches are large enough to accommodate a pen and small notebook, and if all else fails, I have a smartphone I can write on with a stylus, or type if I’d prefer.

Typing is generally reserved for when I am at home, although I do take my Macbook with me when I meet friends at a cafe. There is something inspiring (for me) about writing amongst the positive and happy vibe from people interacting on a social level. Housework, food shopping, and other tedious chores fill my day, but I find by rewarding myself with time to write, exercise, catch up with friends, or attend workshops, the amount of work I produce is pleasing.

Late evening is when my word count begins to climb. Half past nine to midnight is my creative time. I yearn for it, and become a little impatient when anything gets in the way of the time dedicated to my characters. Sometimes, when I’m too tired to write (and let’s face it, it happens) I browse the internet for inspiring articles, or images to stimulate story possibilities.

Like a child, pictures and real life events inspire me most. I love the what if game, and often play it with my children. We’ve even been caught acting out scenes, ad-libbing and creating a play as we go…yes, we’re a crazy bunch, but we have fun.

I would love to hear how you find the time to fit your passion into your busy life. I don’t know about you, but I’m dreadful at running to a schedule. I’ve tried. I’ve written some beautiful looking schedules, but I forget to look at them, or I’m too caught up in what I’m doing and even though I only wrote it the day before, it no longer seems to work. I now write lists and cross items off as I achieve them each week. This method suits my chaotic lifestyle and spontaneous personality better than the rigid and restricting binds of structured time allocation. My motto…what ever works, embrace it! 

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3 thoughts on “Stealing Time

  1. When my family was young I wrote as you do, scrawling down fragments of stories and poems in between the busyness of everyday life. I looked forward to the time when I would be able to spend entire days creating fictions without interruption. Nearly five years ago I retired from my job at a local newspaper and thought, at last, my time is my own. I envisioned all the wonderful novels I’d write with ao much space in my days to be creative. It hasn’t worked like that. I fill my time with a myriad of other enjoyable activities and the writing continues to be fragmented. At first I agonised over my lack of productivity. Now I’m OK with my approach to writing. I share your motto: whatever works, embrace it.

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    1. I have a feeling I will always be the same no matter how much free time I have. I find the busier my life is the more I get done, so loving my crazy lifestyle at the moment. 🙂

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