There are many problems that come with being a writer and the largest obstacle that I find is life. Unless your work is in high demand, being a writer usually means working a day job and then finding time to sneak in writing while also balancing a social life. If you have kids, then this is an additional obstacle to overcome. Okay, I will never consider my kid(s) to be an obstacle to overcome, but you understand when I say that they do require much of your time.
So how do we get past these barriers? Well, the hardest part of giving any advice is that there will never be a one size that fits all. Meaning, any advice that I give will be different than what works for you. That still doesn’t stop it from being an alternative for you to consider and possibly even adapt into your own writing life. In fact, the current tip I am going to off comes from a variation off of one given by the master himself, Stephen King.
“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” – Stephen King
King has often mentioned on how he keeps books with him so that whenever he has downtime or is left waiting somewhere, he pulls out the book and reads. King is an avid reader, as am I, but I read mostly through audiobooks while I’m driving. I love to read, and it’s why I do the day job that I do as it affords me a lot of time to listen to audiobooks. It also gives me a lot of time to write, even if I’m writing outside the box.
See, I write on my phone. This right now is currently being typed on my phone. My current novel that I have completed 71,000 words has nearly all been written on my phone.
If you ask Chase Jarvis, world renowned photographer, he would tell you the best camera you have is the one you have on you. That was even the title to his book which features many photos taken from his IPhone.
So, I am saying the best device you have to write on is the one you always have with you. I use Apple Pages only because I’ve had issues with Microsoft Word and they’re save synchronization, but it is still a great writing program. No matter what writing you do, I would recommend something with an automated cloud back up. All of this, so that when you want to write, you can on the device you have at the ready.
Learning to write on your phone is not the only trick to being a writer with a very busy life. Not only that, it does take practice and a lot of patience. Autocorrect can be your best friend but it can also be your worst enemy. You have to watch what you right, not only the current word, but sometimes the whole sentence because with ‘new’ and ‘better’ features, autocorrect will now also fix other words than the one you just typed.
It is partially because of autocorrect issues, but also because the inherent issue of writing with limited time restrains that teaches use to write in smaller segments. When your life is busy and chaotic, it is hard to find a long enough time period to just sit down and write out 1,500 to 5,000 words a day. That baby needs to be fed, or someone at work needs you to do a task, but whatever the distraction is, it always seems to be constant.
So my next suggestion for writing with a busy life is to not get caught up in writing all at once. It may be hard, especially when your not used to it and it can be very frustrating, but getting used to writing small segments allows for writing on the go. There are times when I get to write one to two paragraphs here and then later return to write another two paragraphs. This paragraph you are reading right now, I started it this morning. Then I had to run and get medicine for my sick boy and go to work. I’m not returning to it after being at work for a few hours and getting a chance to take a break. By not just worrying about getting one stretch to do all my writing, I’m able to continue to work on my latest story/novel/blog whenever I am able to find the time to add a sentence or two.
So to summarize…
If you are writer dealing with a chaotic life, write when you can. Don’t get caught up in trying to reach your goals all at once as often the time to do so just isn’t there. Also, write on what you can, when you can. Use what is available. If you just have a pad of paper with you or even a tape recorder, use what you are comfortable with to write what you can. Focus on the minutes of the days, not the hours to get in that sentence or two.
Next week, I plan to cover in more detail some of the apps and tech that I use. If you have any suggestions or would like me to approach a particular topic, please leave a comment.
Until next time, write on!