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Robin Hobb's Infrequent and Off Topic Blog

No Time At All

Time for Tea.

Okay, I see you!  There in the back, waving your hand frantically and stamping your feet in frustration. "I don't have the time.  No, really, I don't! No matter what I give up, something else grabs that time.  I can't hope for a quiet hour on any day, let alone one every day!"


I feel your pain.  Been there, done that.  But I still believe that you can write your book or short story.  Not easily.  Even if you have eight free hours a day, writing is never easy.  And when you have to do it in tiny increments, it's even harder.


But it's not impossible.  Just harder.


So here is how to start today.


1.  Make your writing gear accessible at all times.  It doesn't matter what you use.  A laptop, a phone, a tablet, a spiral notebook, a pocket notebook. Don't put it away.  Keep it out on a table or countertop, where you see it.  If you are using software, have that be on the screen.  If you are writing by hand, don't let the pen or pencil stray from whatever you are writing on.  Leave it where you can write that next sentence, and then let the dog out and pick the baby's toy up and put it back on the highchair tray.  Don't put your writing away.  You are now writing all day, even when your hands aren't touching it.  Your brain is.


2.  Make your writing portable.  Take it with you.  Shove that notebook, paper or electronic, into the pocket of the diaperbag.  Put it on the seat of the car next to you.  Have that pocket notebook, yes, in your pocket perhaps next to a pen in a nice nerdy pocket-protector. 


You are a writer.  You ALWAYS have a notebook and pen with you.  You are always writing.


When other people in the dentist office are reading the two-years-old People magazine, you write, notebook on knee.  On the bus or train.  On your break from waitressing.  While you are sitting on the sidelines watching your kid's soccer practice.  Sitting on the bathroom floor while the toddler is in the tub splashing.   (Yup, done all those.)


3.  And finally, defend those writing moments.  The ringing phone or the pinging text can wait while you finish that sentence, or even that paragraph.  Folding the laundry or raking the leaves can wait; I promise those chores won't go away.  (Sometimes, if you leave them long enough, someone else does them.)  Volunteer to take the care for the oil change.  And write in their lobby.  


Does it work?  Well, I got 1668 words yesterday,  Worked for me.  


One final tip.  It you are seizing some moments last thing at night and you know you are about at the end of your stamina, stop while you know what the next sentence will be.  Save it for tomorrow, to help you get started again.


And now I've used up my allotted blog time.  Maybe I'll be here tomorrow.  Who knows?

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