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When The Universe Doesn’t Want You To Write

Smartphone writing distraction

Guest post by author Stephan J. Hahn



I think we can all agree that writing as a full-time job would be awesome.

You could click and clack away on your computer for hours without interruption, save for possibly the melodic orchestras from Pandora’s Film Score Playlist.

The reality, however, is that many of us won’t immediately attain that grace. For now, we are left to squeeze writing in when we can get to it.

With careers and children your life can get hectic and may leave you wondering ‘hey, when am I supposed to write?’

You are not alone. Even famous authors are not immune to the throes of life and how they deal with them.

Take Liverpool author Beryl Bainbridge for instance. She would get up at five in the morning, well before her children, just to write. She would balance her notebook on the washing machine as she did a load of laundry.

So, on to the question: How do you write when there seems to be no time?

The answer to that is as simple as you would like it to be, or as hard as you would make it.

Many times, we get caught up with this idea that there isn’t time, when in reality, it just isn’t the time we imagined.

There is no one size fits all solution because all of our live move in different directions, and at different tempos. That being said, below, you will find some of my favorite and most utilized means of writing on a busy schedule.

1. Leave a Cliffhanger

Cliffhangers are my personal favorite. There will be many days where I can’t see the forest for all and kids that are blocking it. I try to leave every writing session in a sort of intentional suspense.

This keeps me interested and impatient to get back to it. I need to save my character who is about to die. I need to confess my love to the girl of my dreams.

In short, I find it hard to focus on anything else until I resolve that situation. This inevitably brings me back as soon as I can spare a moment.

2. Love Notes 

Have you ever come home from a long day at work to find rose petals sprinkled along the floor to the bedroom? An uncorked, half-filled bottle of wine in the kitchen? The children are with Grandma?

Neither have I, but that is beside the point. Sometimes we simply get busy and literally need a reminder to finish something. In this case, writing.

You don’t have to be elaborate. Leave a sticky note on the computer, or a love note from your character on the bathroom mirror. Remind yourself to write, and put it in a noticeable place. Your characters need you.

3. Go Office Space

We’ve all seen it, or if you haven’t, you should. Now, I am speaking in a general sense of the movie. The idea that you should be working diligently at your day job, but you aren’t.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past year I’ve pulled up my novel and worked on it while I maybe should have been doing my job. But let’s face it, sometimes there just isn’t the time.

You have to write on your schedule, and if that is at work, then so be it. Just don’t tell my boss and I won’t tell yours.

4. Egg in a Bottle

As a good procrastinator, I’ve saved this one for last. Listen, you don’t have to always be inspired or motivated. I think that is one thing that makes humans so special.

We can become inspired or motivated. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just sit down and write the most absurd draft possible, even if you don’t want to.

That does two things: It gives you a spark to write but it also gives you the motivation to make it better.

On more than one occasion I have found love in a ridiculous version of my story, and in turn, made time to fix it.

The short of it is simple. Only you can write your story. The key is to get the words down. What I have learned from other authors and myself is that the vehicle is not the most important aspect to writing.

The most important aspect is your motivation and inspiration. None of this will happen while you are staring at a flashing cursor on Microsoft Word, or finding every excuse in the book (pun intended) for not writing.

It is a busy world out there. I am currently working two jobs. I have three children and a dog. I’m tired, I’m sore, and sometimes I simply just don’t want to write.

I have found, however, that where there is a will there is a 110,000-word epic fantasy being sent out to beta readers as we speak.

Now get off Twitter and go write!

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