The Right time to Write: The Writer’s Clock

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I’ve heard it a million times: I just need to find the time to write or I could write a book if I wasn’t so busy. It’s not about finding, it’s about creating and as creative people we have one up on the everyday man. I’ve learned this lesson best as a military spouse.

Yes, as some of you may know from my recent upheaval from the rest of the WWAT crew, I am a proud, Navy Spouse. It means that I left my home, family, friends and my sanity to support my husband so he could serve his country. It means late nights, early mornings, an unpredictable schedule, and me responsible for the kids, the house, and the everything else in his absence. Might I add Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong while he’s gone (Wonderful for story ideas—a lesson on how to get that main character up a tree and throw some rocks). This means that I have to prioritize, prepare, and persist.

Prioritize. There was once a time in my life that I thought I could do anything and all at once. With so many responsibilities, I am not left with much time for anything else. In a sense if I were to have free time, I’d have to pick the one thing that was really important to me. In my case the writing.

Prepare. In the military this means making connections so you have people you can rely on away from your family. It means being ready with a power of attorney when a water mane breaks and your husband is gone. For me especially, it meant having back up childcare/sitter. I believe it was Stephen King who said as a writer you need to be a reader and you should carry a book on you at all times. I do that and a notebook (you never know when the ideas will arrive).

Persist. During difficult times, the military spouse has to keep at it. If I don’t do it, no one will and my family suffers. I don’t always get it right, no one does. I’m a proud woman, which can be my weakness at times. But it also means I know I can take quite a few kicks in the rear end and still get up. Persistence is an important writing skill because in order to have success you need to be willing to fail and keep trying.

I am adventurous, but going with the flow can sometimes be difficult for me with so much on my plate. My so called flexibleness is really just a plan to not have things go the right way and then I have a back-up. I have had to write early morning, late at night, and the second my daughter fell asleep for a nap (Because I know I’d only get 15 minutes. Not a good napper, ugh). I have written on planes, in doctor offices, and during moves. Why? Because I prioritize it, prepare for it, and persist at it.

Because of this, I’ve learned a lot about the perfect clock for me. My creativity is best at 5 am, while I’m still half dreaming. I concentrate best in crowded places (quiet places are distracting). Revision is best done later in the morning. I run scenes and dialogue through my head on the way to any of my many errands while the kids sing along to Old MacDonald and as I cook dinner. Reading is my favorite outside while my husband works on the car and the kids play in the yard or right before bed.

My perfect clock isn’t everyone’s. I’ve read numerous writers who work best at night. But I also know, since I’ve had to do it so often, I can do all those things at any time. And most important don’t forget to live while writing. One needs to observe, experience/feel, and reflect. Without living there is nothing to write.

So what’s your writing clock? Want to find out? Okay, ready, set, write

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