A leaky faucet can be just as good as opened floodgates

faucet
All those drips can really add up

We’ve all got busy schedules, so finding time to write can be quite the challenge.

One writer I know says he waits until his kids go to sleep. Another one gets up early and writes until he has to start getting ready for his day job.

Since I work unusual hours, my prime writing time is mid-afternoon before I head out to take care of Dad stuff.

For the past couple of weeks, circumstances have limited me to about an hour, which has been very productive. My goal on days like this is to write at least one page; two if I’m on a roll, and this is what usually happens.

But working within a set time limit has also been surprisingly liberating. Knowing you’re only producing one or two scenes really takes the pressure off, and removing that part of the equation can definitely yield positive results.

Just as an example, I had to come up with a new way to have a scene play out because it was way too similar to one earlier in the story. Since it was the last of a handful of small scenes I was doing that day, I knew I’d be done when the scene was done.

A few minutes later, that’s what happened.

Not worrying about the time allowed me to really focus on what I had to do, and since I already knew what the point of the scene was, it wasn’t too hard to come up with a solution.

The more you work at it, the easier it’ll get to be productive, even if it’s only a page or two at a time.

8 thoughts on “A leaky faucet can be just as good as opened floodgates

  1. Mine is typically 5 or 6 am till 9 or so. I’m ‘of a certain age’ and I just get too tired by 11 pm to stay up and write.

    I’ve also started focusing less on ‘time in chair’ and more on individual beats or scenes. Like, “today I am going to finish such and such beat.” For instance, yesterday I needed to get this damn monologue done for a stage play I’m working on. I ended up spending 3 hours on it and it’s no longer than maybe 3 minutes of stage time. But it’s done. Sometimes, when I’m focusing on “I’ll spend 3 hours writing,” that 3 hours can end up being spent dicking around on the internet, playing guitar, etc.

  2. For me, it depends on how much time I have to work with. This summer involved me having to leave the house in order to pick up my daughter from day camp, so that gives me the aforementioned hour.

    During the school year, I take her where she has to go, find the nearest library or coffee shop with free wifi, and work until it’s time to pick her up and head home. This usually runs around 1:15, so I jump in asap and crank out as much as I can during that time. The output varies each time, but I’m just happy to be able to have time to write.

  3. I like the idea of goal-oriented writing instead of time-oriented writing. (1-2 scenes a day vs. 1-2 hours). I’ve noticed better results applying the same principle to working out as well. (50 reps instead of 5 minutes.) I’m going to play around with that.

    As an aside, I wrote an entire screenplay with a newborn. He’d always get up at about 4 am, so I’d wake up, feed him, put him back down and then start writing until he got up for the day and his mom would get him and I’d go back to sleep. Surprisingly productive at 4am when you have no other tasks/time-wasters to distract you.

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