Creating a time space to write.

Hi again,

It’s been five days since my last post and they’ve all been as jam-packed as the next, leaving me little time to write.

My time in an average week is primarily spent in full time work and studying a diploma online topped off with: a variety of local church activities including youth group and bible study, basketball on Mondays with my local team and ensuring my wife Sarah and I have some time to hang out together and have a date night. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to write.

With Christmas approaching, it’s good to know that, apart from the days of Christmas, my Christmas shopping is done and bible study and youth group has shut down for the holidays. Free time; a little more time to write. What a blessing.

As I reflected on how little time I had over the last five days to write, I remembered an interview with George R.R. Martin in regards to his current Game of Thrones novel. He mentioned that his writing is being slowed and stymied by the NFL. Sport, it seems, is enough to distract the legendary fantasy writer from finishing perhaps the most in-depth and epic fantasy series in creation. (Steve Erikson’s Book of Malazan still sits a little higher in my eyes – but it’s a finished story and GoT is still on its way).

Of course, George has a lot of free time to write and his lifestyle doesn’t mirror mine at all but it’s reassuring for a young writer that even the most seasoned authors experience the pull and lure of outside distractions. Still, in the stark light of my own business, writing time is at a premium and books don’t write themselves and for an aspiring author working on their first novel nothing can be more frustrating than finding yourself starved of solid, flowing, writing time.

How to deal with it?

Well, earlier this year, I sat down and I timetabled the “standard Joshua Bishop week”. I included everything – wake up time, work, training at the gym, basketball, youth group, date nights with Sarah and even bedtimes (for a night owl like myself this was a shocking level of planning on my behalf).

Once I blocked those commitments in, I was left with some clear blocks of free time – time perfectly suited for writing and for the most part, that’s what I do. When the clock shows 3 pm, I’m straight into the writing process, taking advantage of the time I have.

This year, the plan has worked really well. Seeing on paper, the amount of free time I have to write motivates me to sit down and use it or risk throwing it away for the sake of other distractions.

Sure, date nights are not as romantically spontaneous as we’d like, but thankfully Sarah understands the need for me to put a figure on commitments so I can effectively see the time I potentially have to work on my novel.

Now of course, one lesson I have had to learn is to be flexible. Life laughs at structure and planning and throws curve balls the first moment it can. Meetings, dinner dates with friends and family, weddings or simply nights of lethargy and despondence are enough to derail any writing timetable. I look at my timetable like a gym training schedule or a diet plan. Sometimes you need to skip a session or have a cheat meal, but make sure you’re back into it the next day. Over the course of a month, you’ll still be regularly writing and being creative. That’s worked wonders for my mindset. Keep your eyes on the long term plan, whilst ensuring you don’t stay in one place too long in the short term.

One trickier detriment to any session of creative writing is of course, using the time you have effectively and wisely and most of all, being in the creative flow enough to actually get words on the page. I’ll be sure to share some of my habits and techniques for that next time.

How do you find time to write? Do you have clear blocks of free time? Do you struggle to find time in your work week? How well do you keep to your schedules? Let me know how you get around it in the comments below.

Until next time,

Write with all your heart,

Josh

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The Beginning of Significance.

First of all, welcome to my blog.
It’s a pleasure to have you here.

The adage goes that ‘writers write’ and that’s certainly something that has been true for me this year. I’ve evolved from a imaginative but uncommitted daydreamer to a writer, seriously committed to finishing his first novel.

That achievement in itself – the, at the time of this writing, 36 page, 27,047 word chapter summary, the 19 characters, the detailed maps created with the aid of my close friend Ciaran, the clear and present story both in my head and on the paper – all of that, gives me more confidence to call myself ‘writer’, far more than the pale mug emblazoned with that exact word or the framed black and white photographs of my favourite authors on the shelf. Real physical words shaping a future novel justify to me, that I am a writer, not just a dreamer.

Of course I feel this way because ‘writers write’, they don’t just drink tea from WRITER cups and chat with like-minded individuals about the writing of others. They participate, they scoop from their own wells and warmly welcome others to drink. For the first time in my life, I feel that I have begun to write and to create with great personal significance. This is the beginning of significance, the beginning of seriousness, the beginning of a process that will create something real and significant to me and hopefully others. Passion, is what has moved me. A passion to share and explain the stories in my bones.

As I sit to write this blog, I do so, with you, the future readers, the peers of writers,in mind. Above all, I’m mindful of the end goal of my own writing: A published novel and then, a second one if success is kind enough to crack open the pages of my current creation.

When I created this blog, I reminded myself that the internet is saturated with blogs; blogs of both greater value to the reader and with far wider interest to the general population. All this reminded me that creating a blog to create fans or followers was not something that was just going to happen nor should I expect great success. With that in mind, I convinced myself that this blog was going to be a creation that would enhance my commitment to writing, to the improvement of my craft and to the recording and summary of the process of creating my novel.

If you are reading this and are interested in following along this journey with me, then know that you are an achievement greater than I believed possible.

I hope to document many things on this blog: my methods of writing, my progress on the novel, snippets of chapters, introduction of characters, exercises I’m using and books I’m reading.
I hope to learn from you too as you also strive to create your own works of art or stand triumphant on the peak of published or finished works. I am a humble sponge and I sincerely ask for your wisdom if you care to share it.

I hope that when the day comes and I have the joy of holding a finished manuscript, we can look back on this together and see how far we’ve come.
Hope; I’ve used that word many times in the last few paragraphs but it is perhaps the truest word in this post. I hope because I know that I will finish, even though I cannot see the finish line. I hope because I believe without seeing. I hope because I trust that if I am true to the book, then the book will be true to others.

Thank-you for being here.

I would be honoured to hear your own journey. Please feel free to introduce yourself and share as much as you would like about your creative project in the comments below. I’m excited to meet you and hear you share your creative passion. If you have passionate writing friends, let them know too.

We are creative people on creative journeys; lets walk together.

Until next time,

Joshua Bishop

 

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