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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Finding writing time (a vent)

   
Author Topic: Finding writing time (a vent)
Smaug
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So, basically I get up at 5 am and by the time I get to my computer it's closer to 5:15. I have to get ready to go do my workout before I go to my regular job, and so I have to start eating breakfast by about 5:55. This little window is one block of writing time I have during the day, and I mostly use it to post on Facebook and check my email. At night, there are people in my home that want to see me (my wife is disabled and needs attention to keep from getting utterly bored with life), so I have a tough time finding moments to write at night. I don't see much of a solution to this situation. I really want to write, but since I care deeply about what's happening in the world, I feel it's my calling in life to post on Facebook about various things that are happening to call others' attention to it. That's why I use the small window for that. And I'm probably a Facebook addict as well, which of course, I would like to change if that's the case. I welcome comments on this thread.
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RyanB
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The cold, hard reality is that if you want more time you have to give up something that is currently taking up your 24 hours each day.

I can't tell you what's important in your life, but my advice would be to quit Facebook.

Here's a little comic that is quite profound:

http://xkcd.com/386/

Another piece of advice would be to get the book 2K to 10K:

http://www.amazon.com/2k-10k-Writing-Faster-Better-ebook/dp/B009NKXAWS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386013604&sr=8-1&keywords=from+2000+to+10000

Meticulously track your writing and experiment with different time slots, locations etc. You may find that you're better off trying to find two blocks of three hours each week instead of trying to find more time every day.

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Robert Nowall
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I can usually find time when I'm interested...it's kind of like being in a white heat to create and I have to do it. But sometimes I'm less interested (like these days right now), and I claw out time on my less busy days and write five hundred words a session.

Usually in the interested writing times, it's only five hundred a session, but in those cases it's usually a mark and I get up, stretch, do a few other things, and come back later.

I'm reminded I need to write something today...

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extrinsic
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Writers, like scholars, lead a life of the mind. Mental composition is an answer for pressing time limitations. Practicing mental composition dress rehearses for actual putting words on the page. A writing mentor recounted how, as an editor, the mentor could tell which writers around the office were the most skilled. Their lips moved when they wrote, dress rehearsing while they wrote. The editor learned that though observational experience. The writers who were best at writing he noted priorly. Next, he realized, from observing them write, that their lips moved.

Any moment may be an opportune occasion for mental composition: driving, waiting, quiet moments before the sandman carries the mind away to exotic settings, anytime when close attention to the alpha reality is uncalled for. Writers beware: that daydreaming facial expression of mental composition may be mistaken for idleness or indifference toward others, inviting intrusions and contentions.

[ December 04, 2013, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Smaug
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RyanB, you make some good points. I've actually seen that cartoon before....and yeah, it's me, but then again, I feel a great need to defend what I believe to be the right path. Maybe that's more important to me than writing...

However....

I get this horrible feeling now and then that I'm wasting my talent.

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RyanB
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quote:
Originally posted by Smaug:
it's me, but then again, I feel a great need to defend what I believe to be the right path.

That used to be me too. I used to spend hours arguing with people on the Internet. Most of the time I argued with people who held the exactly the opposite view from me on whatever subject we were arguing about. I think I realized I was never going to convince the person I was arguing with, but my unconscious justification was that other people were reading our argument and I might convince some of them.

In reality it was just hundreds of hours wasted.

My compulsion to argue was no different than my compulsion to beat the next boss when I was addicted to Diablo or to check my "yard" today when I was addicted to Backyard Monsters. Although arguing on the Internet important, it really wasn't any more valuable than a farm in Farmville.

Now, it is possible to convert people to the "right way," but you can't do it with arguing. If converting people is important to you, you should go read Seth Godin. He's been blogging for about 15 years, but reading the last year or two should get you started.

It turns the best way to "convert" people is to tell them stories that change the way they understand the question (or possibly themselves).

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Smaug
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And yet, America's founders thought it important enough that all of their writings are pretty much designed to convince or "convert". This is why I do this, because some things matter more than others. On the other hand, I've been on ornery.org in the past and have gotten really tired of arguing with people with whom I passionately disagree, because there, it's at least five or ten to one. I'm fairly certain some of those with whom I've debated in the past are on this site as well. I'm done with those kind of debate forums, but what I'm not done with is identifying political or cultural problems and stating them, and posting links to articles that give examples. For example, I recently posted a poll that was done among Native Americans several years ago in which the majority had no problem with the term "Redskins" as in Washington Redskins. One of my FB friends had no clue that there was a majority of Native Americans who weren't offended by the name. To enlighten even one person is a triumph.

That being said, I still want very badly to be a novelist (published--I've written one complete novel). I would like to find at least an hour or two a day to write fiction.

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RyanB
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quote:
Originally posted by Smaug:
but what I'm not done with is identifying political or cultural problems and stating them, and posting links to articles that give examples. For example, I recently posted a poll that was done among Native Americans several years ago in which the majority had no problem with the term "Redskins" as in Washington Redskins. One of my FB friends had no clue that there was a majority of Native Americans who weren't offended by the name. To enlighten even one person is a triumph.

I won't argue that your methods don't work. You've seen your results. I think if you keep at it you'll persuade a few more people.

But how many people did Ayn Rand convert with her novels? What about Harper Lee? Steinbeck? Upton Sinclair?

If you want to persuade people, log off Facebook and open up MS Word. If you want to learn how stories change peoples' minds, read Seth Godin.

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extrinsic
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Persuading social change is a tall order. Government imposes change through coercion, compulsion, mandate, law, as do family groups, social groups, culture groups. A difference between government "persuasion" and private groups is methods of instruction, caution, correction, castigation, and control originate as subjective positions and often estoric (insider) forces, like centrifugal (outward force direction, like shunning) and centripetal (inward forces like bonding rituals). How, though, any given writer succeeds or not in persuading varies across a gamut of spectrums. One kernel, though, is fundamental.

Rhetoric means persuasion. Situational, or compressed, rhetoric is incidental occasions, not incidental in the sense of extrinsic, not connected, but incidental in the sense of a discrete occasion. A situational irony, irony being one of the more remarkable rhetorical figures, for example, might be expressed in a brief few sentences. An extended irony may comprise an entire narrative or a large fraction of a narrative.

Therein is creative writing's persuasion strength. An entire narrative is a rhetorical (persuasive) figure. Creative writing is the art of persuasion. This is most easily seen in that top tier library cataloging of writing how-tos and poetics texts (narrative theory) discussing methods and structuralism and aestheticism are organized and labeled under the heading Rhetoric.

A narrative of whatever length ideally persuades at least emotional reactions in readers. Be the reaction at times delight, fear, joy, anger, loathing, spite, whatever. A narrative may persuade a change of mind. Exquisitely so if more, value, code, cognition, or enlightenment are persuaded to change.

From my writing studies I've recently realized that the process has changed my mind in many areas. One of the more profound realizations is how for three decades I believed I knew all I needed to know about creative writing and didn't need no stinking didactic writing instruction. That was a difficult precept to alter. Even when I was compelled to read or listen to writing instruction I was resistant, though I did. From that process I was exposed to junk theory and insightful theory. I grew to appreciate and enjoy writing instruction in its own light.

Wow! I'm studying Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction currently. Wow! My initial survey of the text astonished me from the quality, quanity, and variety of narratives and rhetoric texts cited. One-third of the hefty page count indexes those cites and sources. As annotated bibliography, the indexes are a broad and deep indexing source of rhetoric published over two millenia, focusing on the past couple centuries, beginning with the ascendance of Realism through Modernism. Postmodernism hadn't come forth fully at the time of Booth's first edition, 1962, but had by the time of the updated second edition, 1982. Nonethless, Postmodernism isn't covered as directly as Realism and Modernism's literary movements.

Booth notes quite deeply that a narrative ought, in his opinion, not overtly preach as a general priniciple. He does, though, allow that that's not an absolute. Overt preaching appeals to a portion of audiences. He also claims that message-driven narratives are impossible to avoid and enumerates a variety of reasons why and how they've been arranged. That is, that an artfully crafted narrative by degrees persuades less overtly than direct preaching under assorted objective and subjective guises hinging upon narrator, implied writer, and character viewpoints, standpoints, points of view, etc.

Finding study reading time is as challenging as finding writing time. Fug-ugly early today, I had an appointment I was kept waiting for for three hours. I put a big dent in Booth.

[ December 05, 2013, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Smaug
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Thanks, RyanB. I'll give it a shot. And thanks extrinsic and others who have made comments. I appreciate all the thoughts.
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jerich100
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I keep selections of my drafts (4-5 pages) and a pen with me 100% 24/7. Any time I'm bored, such as standing in line, waiting for meetings to start, or on work breaks, I write or edit.

I've found that after watching a GREAT movie, I look at my drafts and think, "Wow, I'm an excellent writer." After a crappy movie I look at my drafts and think, "How terrible of a writer I am."

I've also found that when I know someone is going to read my draft, I micraculously--surprisingly--find MANY more problems than I would ordinarily.

What helps me most is to write when I'm in different locations and under different conditions. This somehow scraps different parts of my brain, and I perform better.

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jerich100
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Scrapes, not scraps, although both words work equally.
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