Write when you feel like it but have dedicated writing time, too #WriterWednesday #AuthorToolboxHop #AmWriting #WritingTips

author took box october 1I treat writing like a job. I get up every morning – preferably at 6 a.m. – and write. I write until the dog can’t hold it anymore (somewhere around 9 a.m.). By then, I usually have my obligatory daily chapter written. That’s my writing time – the dark hours of the morning before the world wakes up (although the jerks next door like to start trimming the weeds in the parking lot before 8 a.m. in the summer months. Lawnmowers I can barely handle, but weedwackers? That sound wants me to start screaming while I throw things about.)

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A small selection of my notebooks

But sometimes I come up with an idea while it’s not my writing time. That’s what my notebooks are for. I’ve got tons of them. Seriously, I can’t walk past a stationary store. I buy them everywhere I travel as souvenirs. Of course, I can’t seem to make myself use the pretty ones, so then I have to buy more. “Hi! My name is Dena, and I’m addicted to buying notebooks.”

And if I’m not near a notebook? Then, I make a note in my phone. When I’m driving the car or walking the dog, I dictate a memo. The other doggy mommies and daddies think I’m weird. Luckily, the local newspaper did an exposé on my writing last year and now they just think I’m the eccentric foreign writer woman. (Score!)

That’s great and all, but there are times when writing an idea down is not enough. Those moments – usually while you’re trying to sleep or taking a shower – when your muse not only sends you an idea but an entire chapter. When I first started writing, I’d ignore those moments. Well, not entirely. I’d write the idea down in a notebook and then go back to whatever I was doing. Of course, by the time I actually got around to writing the chapter my muse handed me on a silver platter, it wasn’t nearly as funny/witty/suspenseful/{fill in adjective here} as when I first heard it – which was more than a little frustrating. What to do?

Now, writing takes priority. If I come up with witty dialogue while showering, that’s it for the shower. You’ll find me behind my computer typing away wrapped in a towel. (Note to self: Buy a robe.) And on the occasions when my muse thinks sleep is for the dead? Okay, mostly I tell her to take a hike and turn over and try to continue sleeping. She’s a stubborn muse, though. She won’t let me go back to sleep often. When she’s particularly persistent, I force myself out of bed and into my writing den. (I’m writing this at 7 a.m. after having already finished today’s chapter.)

What’s my point? This. It’s important to have dedicated time to write most days of the week. But don’t ignore your muse. If she’s whispering into your ear at another time (probably inconvenient because that’s how muses work), listen to her and go write that chapter or blog post or poem or song or whatever.

~ Happy writing

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This blog post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. This is a monthly blog hop hosted by @raimeygallant. Make sure to stop by the other author blog posts in this month’s blog hop to fill up your author toolbox!

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21 thoughts on “Write when you feel like it but have dedicated writing time, too #WriterWednesday #AuthorToolboxHop #AmWriting #WritingTips

  1. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    I hear you about the Muse turning up in inopportune moments — these days she has to compete with my (almost) seven month old puppy (she’s even more persistent and she has teeth). *Sigh* I’ll try out the voice notes — hopefully Caitlin won’t attack those as well. (She sees notebooks as a viable threat to my safety.)

    Ronel visiting on Author Toolbox blog hop day: Running Your Author Empire

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christy Shuler says:

    I definitely relate to you on the notebooks! Haha That Dr. Seuss one is adorable! I definitely have a hard time writing in the pretty ones, too. If the notebook is really special then I feel like the contents have to be something remarkable.

    As far as the pesky muse bugging you at inopportune moments, I can relate to that point as well! It especially happens when I’m trying to focus on other things (aka my day job) and it’s trying to divert my attention to my writing. It can be quite tricky to make the muse cooperate within my scheduled writing hours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TD Storm says:

    Great advice, Dena! I’ve had those moments when I came upon an inspired idea and thought to myself, “I don’t need to write it down now; the idea’s too good; there’s no way I’ll forget it.” Even little things, like the name of a character’s cat or something, require immediate writing-down or they’ll be lost forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacqui Murray says:

    Me too–for all of those. I stop whatever I’m doing to jot a thought down because when it’s gone, it might as well be extinct–I will never again see it.

    The dog walking–that’s my time with the pup. I talk to him, congratulate him on pooping in the appropriate places, ask his opinion. Even then, when ideas flash by, I dictate them to my phone and then as the dog what he thinks of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. elle marr says:

    A great reminder here, Dena! Thank you for writing it. I’ve been sitting in the post-summer glow, ignoring a fair amount of muse whisperings, and this post is kicking me in the pants to pay attention. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. raimeygallant says:

    OMG, so true. There have been times when I’m showering, and my muse won’t shut up, and she’s all do this and this and do this, too, and I’m to the point where I’m like *squeezes conditioner* I have to remember three things by the time I get out of the shower. 🙂 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Adam says:

    I whole-heartedly agree. There’s a real importance to writing regularly, partly because it keeps the mental muscles spry, and often it’s that effort which manages to build up some creative momentum and lure the muse down from on high.
    It can be frustrating sometimes, the fickleness of one’s muse. But it’s also a real lesson in how sometimes creativity and inspiration are hindered by concentration and intense thoughts. Many times I’ve sat at my desk, or paced the room, furiously trying to think of an answer, only to find it within minutes of starting a walk.
    Fortunately, as you say, whether it’s a notebook and pen or one’s cellphone, there are some very “easy to carry” options when it comes to writing.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sheree says:

    I 100% agree – especially considering for some people the muse can fall silent very easily; we need to make the most of her/him when they show up and it’s equally important to treat writing like work if it is indeed our job.

    In fact, treating writing like a job can be a great thing for anyone who wants to finish a novel, even if its for them rather than the publisher!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Louise@DragonspireUK says:

    I was away last week and I had a few moments when I had to write an idea down in the middle of a countryside walk! Thankfully I carry a notebook everywhere, although my partner jokes that my handbag is ridiculously heavy 🙂 I get what you mean about ideas not being so good if you leave them until later. I always forget something, and can’t seem to capture the scenes so well if I’ve just scribbled a couple of pointers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kristina Stanley says:

    I love a notebook. One of my girlfriends buys me a new one every year. It always has a leather cover. It’s my favorite place to doodle about my stories. Now I have a bookshelf full and they are prized possessions. I do use my phone for notes (in an emergency when I find myself without my notebook.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. charityrau says:

    Great tips! I have so many notebooks too! And I am constantly using the not app on my phone. I’ve learned if I don’t write down my idea immediately, it will be gone when I try to remember it later. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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