Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Novel in My Lunch Hour

My friends and colleagues are often involved in writing challenges like NaNoWriMo where they write a novel in a month. The mind boggles in admiration - I have neither the time nor the ability to produce this mega output.

But recently I found that I have accidentally set myself a challenge after all. I have always believed that there is no such excuse as "I don't have time to write." While logistically there are always time constraints and it is very true some people have extremely small windows of spare time - the moment a person makes time, the moment they prioritise their writing - they have taken the first step towards becoming a writer. Even if it is only ten minutes at the bus stop.

I was speaking on a panel a few months ago and during the break, a woman approached me to say: "I have always wanted to write. I just don't have the time." I immediately dragged out my soapbox and explained: "You never will, until you make the time." After the break she said goodbye and started to leave. "Aren't you staying for the second half?" I asked. "No. I'm going home to write. I'm starting now." So either I inspired and motivated her or bored her so badly in the first half she was glad to have an excuse to get away. I hope it was the former.

Lately I have had to eat my words. Literally. For lunch. I have been so time poor with the demands of the holiday season and family issues. While I am lucky enough to have a full time writing schedule (two books a year), I'm too early in my career to be making even a part-time income and I need to juggle writing with a full-time job. With five books on the shelf, I not only have to find the time to write but to answer reader emails, run workshops, visit schools, manage two websites and follow up promotional opportunites.

Suddenly I am so tired. My 10pm - 1pm window has shrunk. And at 12pm I just can't think anymore. So what's left? Lunch hour. And that's what I am doing. I am writing a novel in my lunch hour. So far it's working well. I did the last few chapters of Fire Lizard (Samurai Kids 5) this way and the initial editorial feedback didn't include: This sounds like someone wrote it in their lunch break *grin*

Strangely enough, that hour in the middle of the day is a very productive one when it comes to spitting out 500 words. By lunchtime I've been rattling my ideas and thoughts around in my brain for hours. Some days now, I even know where the plot is going before I start typing!
I'm making time and the words are flowing faster than ever.

2 comments:

Penthe said...

Great idea! Although it would mean giving up on reading a novel at lunch time, which would be a wrench.

leemcgowan said...

Thanks Sandy. This was a timely read for me. Love the Samurai kids. Good luck with book 5.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin