by Beth Burgoon
My kids go back to school in six days, twenty-three hours and eleven minutes. Am I counting down the days? Yes. (I like to tease my kids that I actually start my back-to-school countdown on the first day of summer vacation *g*) Am I excited? You bet (but you already could tell that, right?)
Okay, I want to put in a disclaimer here. I love my kids. I adore them. I think they are the best kids around. But I work from home and to write I've discovered I need two things: A schedule (not easy to come by with three active kids) and quiet (my oldest plays the guitar--electric, acoustic and bass--and drums, my middle child is constantly singing--with or without blaring background music--and my youngest is young enough to still want/need quite a bit of my attention). Oh, who am I kidding? They all want/need my attention which they try and get by coming into my office, sitting in a chair, staring at me and sighing (loudly and repeatedly) while muttering about being bored.
None of those things are condusive to my writing process.
Which brings me to my point: I haven't always been true to my writing process and I haven't done nearly enough to protect it.
I realized this truth last week when, on one of my writing loops, a wonderful, published author said we needed to respect and guard our own creative process like junk yard dogs. For years, I've known what works for me but have, in an attempt to write better and faster, tried numerous other ways of writing. Unfortunately, while those other ways may work for some, they haven't worked for me. So I've decided this year when I have the house to myself again, I'm going to allow my own unique creative process to shine. I'll take the time to think about my new story, to make notes and type up a quick outline of scenes. Then I'll dive into the story, get to know my characters and let the words flow until I have a rough draft. Once I have the skeleton of my story done, I'll slow down a bit, flesh it out and take the time to polish those rough edges into the best story I can possibly write.
And when school lets out next year for summer vacation, I'll have a working schedule and process that works for ME. One that I'll protect and guard fiercely no matter how loud those bored sighs get ;-)
What do you do to protect your writing time and/or process? How long were you writing until you found what worked for you? For non-writers, is there something in your life--a hobby, exercise or just YOU time--that you protect? And come on, am I the ONLY one who gets excited about back-to-school? :-)