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All of us have busy lives. Full-time jobs, family, and school are some common ones, but there are many more. How can we find the time to write when we have so much going on in our lives?
Track How You Spend Your Time
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The first step is to track how you spend your time. Take a week to record every activity you do during the day and the approximate time of day you do them.
For example, mine would look something like this:
- 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Wake Up/Morning Routine/Breakfast
- 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Social Media
- 10:00 a.m. – 11 a.m. Writing Time
- 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Homework for School
- 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Writing Time/Reading/Appointments
- 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Social Media/Free Time
- 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Cook/Family Dinner/Wash Dishes
- 6:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m. Meetings for Groups
- 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wind Down/Bedtime Routine/Reading
- 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Try to Fall Asleep
This works for me because I need plenty of time to fall asleep because of my insomnia. I don’t have many responsibilities, either. Yours may look different.
You may ask why I am qualified to help you find time to write if I have no responsibilities. I’ve worked, gone to school, and finished the first draft of a novel at the same time.
This exercise is about tracking how you spend your time. Don’t judge what you are doing. Just record what you do and when.
Find Potential Writing Time
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Now that you have a week’s worth of records, the next step is [Read More]
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There are two main parts to every story: internal and external conflict. These are also known as character and plot, respectively.
One of the age-old debates in the literary world is which is more important to the story. Neuroscience has answered this question with fMRI technology. According to Lisa Cron’s book, “Story Genius,” the character’s journey is more important. Why?
It’s how our brains process the story. On page 109 of “Story Genius,” Cron writes, “Cognitive psychologist and novelist Keith Oatley… defines fiction as ‘a simulation that runs on the software of our minds.” We use stories as a way to evaluate different social situations and how we would react to them. Basically, it allows us to experience the situation and reap the chemical rewards of navigating it successfully without ever being in the situation for ourselves.
Your character’s journey to change is what makes the story compelling to readers.
You need to relate to the character on some level. Our brains are wired to relate to the character, not the plot. If the character is not relatable, then the reader stops reading.
That begs the question: how can you create a relatable character and make the story compelling?
First, by understanding a few key points:
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I am a fan of the “Graceling Realm Series” by Kristin Cashore. In the back of the third and final book, “Bitterblue,” I found a mention of the blog post that detailed how she ended up restarting the writing process for that book all over again.
Imagine having written seven notebooks, all filled with the first draft, the equivalent of 800 pages of a typed manuscript only to be told to “start over” by your editor. Infuriating right?
Well, Cashore agreed with her editor after some thought. And when she sat down to write it, she wrote a much better, more concise manuscript.
Of course, in order to get the motivation to write, she had to trick her brain. She had to use tricks to tell herself she was writing a brand-new book. She had to use other tricks to show herself she was making progress and not just floundering.
I recently went through a similar experience. Although I wrote nowhere near 800 plus pages of a manuscript (more like 200 pages and 61,000 words), I felt overwhelmed with the prospect of editing the novel I had written.
It is the longest manuscript I have written to date, and the whole vision of it changed around 40,000 words in. Not to mention that 90 percent of the plot points happen in the last 20,000 words.
Simply put, [Read More]