How do I write and more importantly, find the time to write?

Every night of my life I’ve always read, so, I thought, instead of reading – and as I wanted to write a novel – I would simply lift a lap top and start typing. Easy peasy.

Okay, maybe not so simple.
It didn’t exactly work out how I’d planned, as after I’d finished putting my thoughts into the computer, I would then find myself picking up a book and reading it anyway (it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime) but then something changed.

The more you actually write, the more you notice the styles of writing that you are reading and you find yourself looking at how gestures are phrased, how punctuation is used, how some writers use quotation marks while others use apostrophes to indicate speech. All the different styles of writing and phrasing suddenly jump off the page at you and you notice things you never noticed before.

You/I shouldn’t feel too guilty about this as although your brain takes it all in – and it’s a fact that the more reading you do, the better your writing becomes – your will find yourself thinking, I must remember that phrase (or something similar) to use in my book.

As I lay there, reading, I started taking notes, then I moved on to a dictation machine (which really annoys your partner). The next day, I would transcribe everything onto a computer for future use, as there is no way I’m going to remember it all. The good news is that all this can only improve (fingers crossed) your own writing.

I don’t like doing it, but sometimes I have actually folded the pages down and highlighted the relevant parts of the book with a highlighter pen. I hate defacing books as I usually give them to charity, but hey, it’s works, and after all and doesn’t really detract from the book, and it gives the next reader something to think about.

Still not that simple.
I’m self employed so I don’t have to answer to a boss until I come home, but this blog is being typed while I’m in work. So although the initial plan of just writing when I went to bed, doesn’t allow for the fact that when the writing bug takes over, be prepared to just take the time to put pen to paper, fingers to typewriter or keyboard, dictate it or telephone your phone and leave a message that you can listen to later. The secret is to get it out of your head and onto/into something that you can get it from later. You can still edit your musings when you eventually get to bed anyway.


The first downside of all this is that your bedside table turns into a mini office with a laptop, highlighter pens, dictation machines, notebooks, etc. Not too much of a problem if you use drawers.

The other downside is that when you eventually turn off the light to get to sleep, you’re still thinking about all the things you could include in your book, which inevitably means turning on the light, taking notes, dictating or when things get really bad/good, opening up the laptop again and writing.

Maybe it’s time to get a separate bedroom? Just kidding.


7 thoughts on “How do I write and more importantly, find the time to write?

  1. One good way to find more time to write is to spend less time on social networking sites…. to that end I’ve decided to spend less time on Twitter, so forgive me if I don’t RT you every day as before! I’d got to the stage where I was getting 500 RTs a day and trying to return 300 of them – ludicrous. The majority of those RTs probably did me little good anyway (who needs to be RTd to 300 lovers of YA paranormal who live in Ohio?) – so it probably won’t mean I sell any less books. I don’t know about you but I’d got so I was spending up to 5 hours a day on Twitter and other sites – ludicrous. More time spent keeping up with correspondence from all social networking than actual writing. Spread myself too thinly! ON the other hand, I enjoy it, and it’s found me the bulk of my readers! The things that have definitely had to go for me are a social life, telly (apart from things I really, really want to watch), and housework more than the basic necessities, hurrrahhhhh!!! Here I sit in my untidy living room, commenting on your blog…:)

    You’re right about writing making you read differently. I read like an editor now. I find, though, that you know when a book is good when you suddenly realise you are reading like a reader again, because you’re enjoying it too much to notice….

  2. I totally relate to this. Self employed and with mini offices all over the house I’m afraid. Being a bad sleeper anyway I started writing my first novel in those sleepless hours. But the bug can take at any time so I keep a notebook with me. This is also the first time in a while I’ve spent reading other blogs and other social networking. I just prefer to write! Thanks for this post!

  3. Excellent post! Writing at night is the enemy of sleep. At least it is for me. Can’t turn off my mind.

    So I get up early & write then, before the world gets noisy & intrusive!

  4. I can’t manage with the computer on late – there’s something about the frequencies it sets up in my brain, I can’t sleep if I’m online after about 9. But read – I can’t imagine not reading before I go to sleep. And always with a notebook beside me for those ideas, phrases, snippets that you know you’ll forget if you don’t write them down this very minute!

  5. I’m too tired to write at night, so try to do it in mid morning/afternoon. Usually read or tweet and fb at night. You’re right about social networking. They can be addictive, and take a lot of time.

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