Lane Stone’s debut mystery, Current Affairs: A Tiara Investigations Mystery was published by Mainly Murder Press. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA and Alexandria, VA.
When not writing she’s enjoying characteristic baby boomer pursuits: hiking in various countries and playing golf.
Her volunteer work includes raising money for women political candidates.
She’s a proud member of both the Chessie and Atlanta chapters of Sisters in Crime.
Writers Write by Lane Stone
There’s a lot of talk among writers about finding balance between writing and the rest of the demands on our time. I’m approaching the one year anniversary of the publication of my first novel, (Current Affairs, A Tiara Investigations Mystery) and I can tell you, I don’t think balancing is the right word. That gentle expression is not even close. It’s a fight for your time, maybe even a brawl, and definitely not a fair fight. The forces at work to take you away from your writing are potent. But, it’s a fight you – the writer – can win and one you must win to have a successful career. Our battlefields might look different – some writers also work a “day” job, some writers have kids – but in the end, we all have to find time to write.
Why is it so hard to keep to a sensible writing schedule? A plumber, electrician, librarian, a fill in the blank with just about any other occupation, just gets up and goes to work. She doesn’t stop to unload the dishwasher and notices a light bulb is out. The answer to this, of course, is location, location, location. Take away message number one: Run away. Go to Starbucks, Paneras, the library. Get far enough away that you can’t hear laundry calling your name.
“But,” you say, “I feel guilty if the house is a wreck.” So do I. I have, however, developed a higher tolerance for guilt. I think one reason for these feelings is because when we are in the pre-published phase of our career, our writing is not bringing home the bacon. And for most of us, even after the first book or two, it’s not bringing home very much bacon – it’ll be more like those little bacon bits you shake out of a jar. Take home message number two: Write efficiently. Getting the most words out of your writing time, will leave more time for taking the dog to the vet and addressing Christmas cards. Outlining keeps me from ever sitting down to a blank computer screen. I know the scene I’ll write today. And since I write humor, I keep note cards with me 24/7 to jot down ideas. Can’t imagine writing humor, without this. I also write plotting notes, which become the outline. Do you have blocks of time that could become idea time? While you’re working out? Driving?
Sometimes, especially if we work a “day” job, we feel guilty about taking time away from the important people in our lives. Take away message number three: Include them. Make them part of the team. Discuss the best time to write. Everyone agreeing in advance that you’ll be writing Monday and Wednesday nights until 8:30 and all day Saturday, is just more fair than expecting the rest of the family to change plans at the last minute, and will help keep you strong when you come up against temptations to drop your writing during the agreed to times.
Sound like I have it all figured out? Well, far from it. The tip about setting up a writing time with your significant other is courtesy of Clay Snellgrove, (author of The Ball Player). We can all learn from each other. I love to hear about your writing routine. What tricks do you use to stick to it?
Lane, thanks so much for being my guest blogger today. My own “sensible writing schedule” has been revised so many times it’s pitiful. Only during last year’s NaNoWriMo did I stick to the plan, so I’m going to do it again this November.
A print copy of Current Affairs will be awarded to one lucky person who leaves a comment here before midnight Mountain Time Friday, October 19th. Be sure your contact e-mail address is available through your profile or in the body of the comment (appropriately disguised to fool the info-gathering wacko bots). I will select the winner using random.org and announce the name here on Saturday. Many thanks to Lane for offering this giveaway.
Lane Stone writes the Tiara Investigations Mystery series. Current Affairs was published November 2011 and Domestic Affairs will be out April 2013. To learn more about Lane and her books, visit her website. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Stephen Tremp says
Its great to meet Lane. I just hooked up with her on Twitter. Good luck with Current Affairs!
Lynn Proctor says
you describe the struggle so well!!
Lane Stone says
Hi Dean. I agree, talking to our spouses, etc includes them. Otherwise, it sounds like we are blaming them for keeping us from writing.
Cynthia, thanks for posting. Good luck with NaNoWriMo!
Lane, I don’t have specific tricks, but I tend to get the most done at night when the kids are asleep.
Patricia, This will be my first year doing NaNoWriMo. I’m in the planning phases right now.
Dean K Miller says
Sometimes we writing fear asking for time, thinking our “lives” and spouses, etc won’t/don’t understand.
It’s amazing how often they do…and they can get some time of their own as well.
Balance, juggling, wondering, writing…one way or another it’ll get done if we just do it.
Aunt Lane says
Diane – yep, this is the life we signed on to, so let’t see it in a positive light.
Thanks for stopping by,
Patricia Stoltey says
Alex, just like I’m good at avoiding housework, especially washing windows.
Hi Diane — Once we realize chaos is the norm, that we must simply take one task/day at a time, life becomes a lot easier.
L. Diane Wolfe says
As I eventually discovered, the chaos became the balance.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
Not entering to win, but I understand the word balance doesn’t cut it. It’s more like juggling. And I’m really good at ignoring stuff that needs to be done around the house. Just ask my wife!