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Your writing is your work–Make time for writing

To make time for writing, you have to be serious about the principle that your writing is your work. You must act on it and take it as seriously as your paying job. You honor your writing schedule!

You do not show up at your work when you feel like it

If you are working as a nurse or a therapist or a business office administrator or what not, you do not show up at your work when you feel like it or when you are inspired. You have certain hours whether you work full-time or part-time during which you are expected to show up at the job. The same is true of your writing. You show up for your writing schedule.

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If you write when you “get to it,” when you “feel like it,” when inspiration moves you, you will likely do little writing and almost certainly not complete a book of memoirs. If you were being paid for this memoir “job,” your boss would fire you.

Set a Writing Schedule–You have to make time for writing

On the other hand, if you set a writing schedule for yourself—whether that is writing one hour three times a week or writing every day for five hours, you will develop the habit of showing up and of producing. If you can get the bad habit of perfectionism under control, you will find your memoir shaping up into a book in a surprisingly short time.

From my own writing practice, I have shared about writing a novella, which I called French Boys. I worked on the novella first thing every morning. I got up, made some coffee (and increasingly checked the woodstove to crank up the heat in the house) and then began to write for a minimum of a half-hour.

I did not set an alarm clock for getting up as I believed it not good to shock one’s consciousness from the dream state. Instead, I found that I woke rather predictably around 6 o’clock. My coffee in hand, I continued to create my fiction world. While my schedule called for a half-hour of writing—and while that does not seem like much writing, it added up surprisingly fast. (I wrote A Sugary Frosting pretty much at a clip of a half-hour a morning). What happened on many of the mornings is that I wrote for a full hour. Then usually sometime between 7 and 7:30, I saved my story, closed the document and moved on to some other part of my day.

In this way, I treated my “writing as a job” by showing up regularly for my writing schedule. If something happened in the morning that caused me not to write I made a point to write later in the day. There were times, after supper, when, if I was not otherwise occupied, I sat at my computer and did another stint of personal writing.

It’s not that I am trying to get you to be a “nose to the grindstone” person. Instead, what I am trying to do is to help you to evaluate your commitment to writing a memoir. If that commitment is solid, then this bit of information I am providing you right now will make the difference between wanting or “trying” to write and writing.

Action Step

  1. If you do not have a writing schedule right now, create one that includes days and times. For instance, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 to 10 AM.
  1. Study this new schedule or the old one that you have had all along. Is the schedule in front of you realistic? How likely are you to write on these days and at these times? Where’s the problem?
    • Are the hours wrong?
    • Is the frequency not right?
    • Is the length you are allotting too challenging and you know you will not write for this long?
  1. Once you have a schedule that works for you, either enter it on a calendar so that it is “in your face” or if you are a person who does not need to enter the info on a calendar (eg, my commitment is for every day upon waking up so I do not need a schedule per se), make commitment to that schedule. It will not be negotiable for at least one month. Just do it for one month.
  1. Set a date and time when you will examine if the schedule you have set up in this action step works well for you. If not, make any changes necessary.

Remember that writing a memoir needs to be treated seriously, like a job. How can you make time for writing your memoir now? Whatever you do today, write a bit on your memoir.

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