Friday, June 14, 2013

How Do You Find The Time To Write?

One of the most-asked questions I – or any published author – gets is some version of 'how do you find the time to write'?

The best advice I've ever gotten as a writer actually came from one of my English professors when I was still in college. She said treat writing like a job from this point on and you'll never have deadline issues in the future.

I'd taken an advanced creative writing elective my Senior Year, every other student in the class was an English major with plans to go into some area of publishing. I think they all had the Great American Novel idea; I was the lone journalism major.

Just after the mid-term, our professor took an entire week to talk about creating a writing schedule before it was needed. When you're young/still in school, you look at life as always having 'time'. Heck, I've been out of school for a few years now and I still think that way. But in the real world there are obligations on your time – there is a 9-5 job for most of us, there are friends who want to go out, family who need attention, a spouse who shouldn't be neglected. During that week she must have implored us ten times to find a way to make writing part of our lives every. Single. Day. Because one day of skipped writing can lead to two and that can lead to a week or a month and then…your editor is very not happy with you.

Before my publisher bought my first book, I had all the time in the world. The only deadlines I had were self-imposed (I still met them, I'm competitive that way. Even with myself). No one cared if I wrote 500 words or 5,000 on a given day. Now that I've sold five books, there are even more demands on my time:

·         I'm a freelance writer for a business publication
·         I have a busy 4-year-old and husband
·         I have a radio show
·         I have extended family and friends who want a little bit of my time
·         I have two new series that I'm plotting/drafting
·         I have edits for the completed books
·         I have interviews that need to be completed and blogging and social media to be tended to

The list goes on, and I'm not complaining. But because of my early influences, I'm more prepared than I would have been had I not taken that class in that year and heard that week-long lecture series. I made time for my writing when I had a 9-5 job, now my writing is my 9-5 job but it isn't just writing the books – it's the marketing of books and the writing of new books.

Except some of the big authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts, I think all authors now have to do more than write the books. The writing should be a priority, but the day-to-day 'extra' can seem a little more important. There are days when I look at my wordcount and then compare that with the other constraints on my time and I want to focus on those other things – because I could clear 5-6 To Dos in the time it would take to write my 5,000 words (or whatever the goal is). It can be exciting to look at it that way. The downfall is when you realize skipping those 5,000 words can put your deadline in jeopardy.  
I took that advice to heart, although there were times my daily writing is more of a journaling/free write than work on actual fiction. Making writing part of my everyday life, though, prepared me for publishing in a way that I'm thankful for now – years after that lecture series. There are still days when I'd rather take a swim in the pool than write my words, there are days when I have a number of blog posts to write or when I'm trying to work up a new marketing plan for my books and those tasks seem much more pressing than writing toward a deadline that is weeks away. But I still make my wordcount the priority – because those publisher deadlines just don't move.

What is the best advice you've ever truly taken to heart? 

Monica Witte has life the way she likes it. She comes home to be babied every few months and the rest of the time she has no strings holding her back. But after her horse is injured in a rodeo performance, Monica knows it's time to come home and face her family – warts and all.

Trickett Samuels works best on his own. The large-animal vet likes his quiet life in the Texas countryside. When Monica Witte blows into town, demanding a quick fix to her horse's big issues, his life is turned upside down. Trickett doesn't understand Monica's need to perform before perfect strangers or why she wants to keep the truth of their relationship from her family. And the more he gets to know her, the more he wonders if he can convince this Texas girl that having roots will only help her soar higher.

“Kiss me.”

“Trick...” She flicked a glance at him from under her lashes.

“Live dangerously, Mon. Kiss me, in the middle of the parking lot. Where anyone could see us.” 

His hand snaked out to capture hers, linking their fingers together. He leaned forward, his lips a breath away from hers. “Dare you.”

Monica swayed. Trick’s gray gaze twinkled in the twilight, and he grinned.

“You know you want to,” he whispered the words in her ear as his thumb drew intricate designs on the back of her palm.

She did want to. That kiss in the back of her horse trailer had started a hot burning in her stomach that still hadn’t faded a day later. It had blazed hotter the moment their gazes had met in the bar mirror, and now that Trick was mere inches from her, it threatened to consume her.

She wanted him. So badly.

There were no trucks on the road, no windows for the bar patrons to look through, no sound from the bar at all, since she’d followed him out the front door. Why not tempt fate, just a little?
Maybe, if someone saw, it would help her get control of this burning urge to be with Trick.

And if they didn’t, maybe one more night with him would ease the ache.

Monica reached up on her toes, the slick soles of her boots sliding a little against the gravel at her feet. She placed both hands on his shoulders, feeling hot, tight muscle beneath the thin cotton of his bright, red tee with Lockhardt Veterinary Services printed over his left pec. A light musk of beer hung in the air between them, but alcohol didn’t cloud his gray gaze and Monica had barely taken a sip of her beverage.

“I won’t kiss you because I’ve had a drink,” she said, nipping at his full, lower lip. “I won’t kiss you because you dared me.” She licked her lips, slow, and watched as his pupils dilated. “I’ll kiss you because it’s what I’ve wanted to do since the night I backed into your truck. Even after I left for that damned Utah rodeo all I could think about was you.”

Author Bio:
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and four-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.

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  1. Great post, Kristi. I've gotten so much advice over the years that it would be hard to pick one thing.

    1. I know, it's so hard to narrow down, Margery! As I was writing this post I kept thinking of other pieces of advice I wanted to share...I guess those are for other posts!

  2. You have a radio show?! Just when I thought I knew you. lol Best wishes, Kristina. You deserve it!
    -R.T. Wolfe

  3. Super advice, Kristi! I feel my best writing happens in the very early morning before work and on weekends. I joke that writing on weekends keeps me out of the malls!

    1. I'm a Monday-Friday writing girl...but I also have a busy 4 year old who is busy during the week, which gives me time. Writing while she's in the house is a lesson in futility! lol

  4. Great post, and congratulations on your new release!! My favorite writing advice comes from the master himself, Stephen King. He says if you don't have time to read you don't have time (or the tools) to write. He says you could do worse than strip the wires on your TV. I haven't gone that far, but I rarely watch television and find that I have much more time to put towards accomplishing my own goals now. He also emphasizes the importance of habit. My muse will come when she's interested. It's my job to be at the computer from 9-11 every day so she knows where to find me. :)

    1. Oh, that is GREAT advice...and advice I need to follow more. As I write more books I find my leisure reading time is dwindling...but I love it. So, frying those TV wires it is. Okay, maybe that's a *little* extreme!

  5. The best advice I've taken to heart is to make writing time sacred--whether it's 15 minutes or 3 hours. Turn off the television, ignore the internet, and DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE. lol. That last one has robbed me of more writing time over the years than anything else. "Oh, it's my mom. I need to get that." "Oh, my mother-in-law. I need to get that, too." "What if it's the school?" Blah. Blah. Blah. I keep the home phone upstairs now so I can't hear it ring, and I silence the cell phone beside me, refusing to answer. Emergencies will call my cell phone and leave a message. :)

    Good luck to you, Kristina!

    1. That is great advice, too, Elley! I follow a similar rule, myself - writing time is sacred...

  6. The best advice I ever got? Put your ass in the chair and write! From Laura DeVries, at prolific HQ-I writer, since retired

  7. The best advice I've taken to heart was to give works time to breathe before jumping into revisions.

    I don't always have the built-in time to my schedule to stretch those projects out, but it does help you see a work with new eyes.

    1. That one is so hard - especially as we write and publish more...but it's true. When I have 10 days (at least) distance, I start to see those holes a little better. Thanks for sharing, Holley!

  8. Sadly, I found more time when my children were smaller, I was working and attending college--I'd write until 1 0r 2, get up in a couple of hours and go again. But now, it's an effort with a teaching job and those annoying life issues we all have to make myself.

    I like the attitude your professor instilled--working on putting to use myself.

    Great post and excerpt! Much continued success!

    1. You'll get there, Leslie! And I understand about running after kids - this summer bebe (age 4) is in gymnastics and taking swimming lessons...some days its all I can do to hit a 1,000 word goal. Keep working at it!

  9. Great post, Kristina!! Best advice I ever got was from Cherry Adair: Perseverance is the secret handshake, she told me :) And it is so true! No matter how long it takes you to get there, get there!! Just write!

    1. Oh, yes, perseverance (I think) is definitely the key!

  10. Hi Kristina, it's so nice to meet you here on this new blog. I'm already in awe of you sticking to the lessons you learned back from your professor. The best advice I've ever heeded was, indeed, to write some every day. And I do. My problem is, I honestly haven't moved into treating my writing as a real job and not just the hobby I love. Even though my first book is out and my second coming in September, I still let all those things you described in your column distract me.

    So--I think the best advice I'll always take from now on is yours!

    Can't wait to read "What a Texas Girl Dreams." It's got all the elements I love--I'm a huge horse lover, have a daughter who's an equine vet, and a brother who lives in Texas. Sounds like you tailor-made the story for me! I wish you great success with it--and all your amazing endeavors!


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