Posted On March 15, 2013 by Print This Post

Making Time for Writing with Emmie Dark

I don’t know if she remembers but Emmie and I “met” August 9,  2010 through the GIAM critique partner matching service. We’ve been together since then-writing, bitching, revising and supporting each other through rejections and the moments when we both got ‘the call”. Through it all, I have watched her juggle owning her own business in her “real” life, traveling all over the world, and being a great friend, daughter and sister. So, trust me, she knows something about making time for our writing.

 

Making time for writing

by Emmie Dark

One of the challenges I’ve always faced in pursuing my writing is the simple IMG_8485v3crop low resmatter of finding time to do it! I still have a full-time job, so my time is limited by that. I also have several volunteer activities I’m involved with. I have a family (although no kids), and a home and garden to take care of. I like, occasionally, to have a social life. And, most especially, I’d really like to finish the new book I’ve started working on.

Almost all the writers I know balance insanely hectic lives. Having said that, almost all the aspiring authors I know blame “life” for getting in the way of their writing goals.

Waiting for your life to provide you with the perfect environment to write is a little like waiting for the day that you really feel like going to the gym. It never comes—you just have to do it anyway.

Here are some of the tips I’ve found have really made a difference in my life—and in my weekly word counts.

1. Make writing a routine
Yes, this is the oldest advice around. Everyone says it. And you know what? There’s a reason: it works.

Scheduling time for writing, rather than just waiting until you have a spare moment, is the easiest way to make sure it becomes a priority.

I’m lucky in that my non-writing full-time job does allow my some flexibility in my start time. So I decided that I would dedicate the first hour or two of the morning to writing. I get up early, grab my laptop and a cup of tea, and shut myself off from the world. No emails—I don’t even switch on the internet connection, so there’s no temptation to run off and check a detail on the internet and fall down the rabbit hole of Facebook or Twitter. If there’s something I need to know, a date or place I have to check, I type XX and keep going. It’s taken a lot of practice to get to that point, I must admit! But I can fill in those XXs any time later in the day or evening when I have a spare moment.

By the time most people are starting their work days, I’ve already written 1,000-2,000 words. And then I’m ready to tackle my day job. Is it tiring? Yes. But it works for me.

2. Write even when you don’t feel like it
Sometimes, in my writing time, I write a lot of words. Upwards of 2k in two hours or so. Some days—not often, but more often than I’d like—I don’t get anywhere near that. I think my story’s rubbish. I don’t want to write. I pout at my computer like a teenager asked to clean their room. And what it’s taken me a long time to learn is: on days like these, I still need to write.

If you want to get published—to earn money from writing—then it is a job. And just like any job, some days you feel totally engaged and motivated, and some days you don’t. But you still go to work, right?

I’d often wondered if those days that I’d labored over my words would show in the final result—if it’d be obvious to the reader which scenes flowed and which didn’t. But my experience so far tells me that it usually makes no difference at all. In fact sometimes, those words that were the hardest to wrangle become some of the finest in your book!

3. Stop before you’re quite ready to
I know it sounds a little counter-intuitive—why not keep going while the inspiration is there?—but I find that if I stop mid-scene (sometimes mid-sentence!), or at a point where I’m keen to get into the next section, I’m all that much excited about getting back into it the next day. (It’s also part of keeping the routine.)

Make yourself a note or two about what you want to have happen next, and then when you open the file the next day, you’ll be able to take off right where you left off. Saves time and saves that time-wasting moment of opening the document and sitting there wondering how to begin.

4. Learn to say ‘no’
As a volunteer with at least three non-profit organizations, I’m not great at saying no. :) But in order to make time for my writing, I had to learn how to make myself push back on some of the things that were getting in the way. Clearly some stuff in life is non-negotiable. Family. Work that pays the bills. Making sure there’s food to eat and clean clothes to wear. But all these things are choices—what do you prioritize? Doing the laundry can feel like a choice, but sometimes it’s an excuse. Guard your time preciously, and spend it on the things that really matter—like time with your hero and heroine.

***

How do YOU make time to write?

On Monday, Kelsey Browning tells us 10 tips for a debut author.

***

Spellbound coverEmmie’s latest book is a spicy erotic novella, Spellbound, about Belle, a modern-day witch, who’s had a bad run with men. And she’s not that good at the magic stuff, either. But she has to find some way to get her handsome Italian neighbor to notice her. And that’s where it all starts to go wrong…

Spellbound link: http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781743481035/spellbound

Bio:

After years of writing press releases, employee newsletters and speeches for CEOs and politicians – none of which included any kind of kissing – Emmie Dark finally took to her laptop to write what she wanted to write. She was both amazed and delighted to discover that what came out was sexy, noble heroes who found themselves crossing paths with strong, determined heroines. And plenty of kissing.

Emmie’s overnight success has taken about five years to achieve. She began fiddling around with story ideas when the urge to write fiction became overwhelming. In July 2011 she sold her first book to Harlequin SuperRomance.

“Cassie’s Grand Plan” was released in March 2012 and her second SuperRomance, “In His Eyes,” was released in August 2012.

Emmie lives in Melbourne, Australia, and she likes red lipstick, chardonnay, sunshine, driving fast, rose-scented soap and a really good cup of tea. Like, a really good cup of tea. She’s particularly fussy about it, and has been known to pack her own teabags when she travels. Most members of her family are too scared to make her a cuppa, in case they get it wrong.

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Discussion

13 Responses to “Making Time for Writing with Emmie Dark”

  1. Hi Emmie,

    I like the idea of just writing for the sake of writing. It’s usually garbage, but worth the practice.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | March 15, 2013, 6:57 am
    • Hi Mary Jo! Yes, it was one of those ideas that took me a while to warm up to, but I kept hearing from author after author that it worked and now I’ve proven it for myself. I think it’s one of those things you do have to see for yourself until you believe it works.

      Posted by Emmie Dark | March 16, 2013, 4:54 pm
  2. Morning Emmie!

    When I get stumped with a part of the story, I have a tough time making myself write. And then when I do, it’s thousands of words. I need to do exactly what you say – just write anyways, no matter what!

    That’s something to add to my resolutions list – right up there with taking my calcium every day! =)

    Thanks for posting with us today!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | March 15, 2013, 8:37 am
  3. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Emmie. You hit the nail on the head about staying away from the Internet. I always seem to fall down that rabbit hole.
    I’m about to start a family, so all your advice is particularly timely for me. Thanks again and congratulations on your success!

    Posted by Lucianne Poole | March 15, 2013, 8:58 am
    • Thanks so much Lucianne! The internet is SUCH a time-killer. I love it, and am a self-confessed social media junkie. That’s why I’ve developed this approach of simply not turning it on until after I’ve done my day’s word count. Then I can’t be tempted. I hope it works for you!

      Posted by Emmie Dark | March 16, 2013, 5:00 pm
  4. Hi, Emmie -

    Love the post today because finding time to write is something we all struggle with at one time or another. Interestingly enough, I’ve created a better writing schedule each time my life schedule gets tighter. I makes me realize I have to grasp every little minute I can – LOL.

    The other thing I’ve done is create a writing rhythm (rather than schedule or routine). When I think of it as a rhythm, it’s easier for me to make changes when my environment changes (or implodes :-)). For example, my son is home schooling this year, we’ve moved three times in the past 10 months, I’m training a service dog, blah, blah, blah. Instead of being angry or frustrated when my time constraints change, I quickly figure out how to adjust. I save time on the pissed off pouting that way – LOL.

    Happy Friday!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | March 15, 2013, 9:25 am
    • Wow, that’s one insane year you’ve had, Kelsey! You deserve a medal for keeping your writing up with all those changes going on! I LOVE your idea of a writing rhythm. I know that my own craving of structure sometimes gets in the way of making the most of my time, so I absolutely admire how you’ve been able to build in flexibility to your routine.

      Posted by Emmie Dark | March 16, 2013, 5:01 pm
  5. This is my problem right now – has been for the past year. To a point, I was okay with it. We were getting ready to move after 20 years in the same house, and I had to focus on getting organized and packed. Once we moved, I had to focus on getting organizes and UNpacked. And now I have a full time job babysitting for my 7-month-old grandbaby.

    The baby is soooo much fun but I’m tired at the end of the day. I used to do the majority of my writing at night, so I’ve had a hard time getting back into the swing of things. I’m not a morning person, but I think your idea of writing early in the day might be worth a shot.

    This whole post really resonates with me. AND now I want to add your book to my waiting-to-be-read list!

    Thanks so much for giving me some workable ideas! It’s past time I dug in and hit the keys again.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 15, 2013, 9:51 am
    • Good luck Becke! It sounds like life is really hectic — and why wouldn’t you want to spend all your time with an adorable little grand baby?? But I hope you do find a way to carve out some writing time for yourself. I hope the early morning thing works for you, too.

      Posted by Emmie Dark | March 16, 2013, 5:03 pm
  6. Hi Emmie!

    I like the “Stop before you’re quite ready to…” Great idea!

    At the end of the evening, I’ll type a few words that serve as a prompt of sorts for the next day.

    Thanks for being with us today!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | March 15, 2013, 3:52 pm

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