Beating The Bushes; or, Finding Time To Write (Even When Your’re Not Writing)

(Post-A-Day Challenge, Day 9)

One of the challenges of writing, unless you’re lucky enough to be independently wealthy and don’t have to hold down a day job, is finding the time to do it.  So, like lots of other people who aspire to being an author, I have to squeeze my writing in around the other bits and pieces of my life–my job, friends and family, housework, and, oh yeah, yard work.

Bushes to beat

My yard, sadly, does not look this good. Though it does have bamboo!

This afternoon, the yard work beckoned, and even though I would rather have been writing, I sallied forth with my hedge trimmer to try to beat the flora surrounding my house into some semblance of order.

Fall has finally come to Colorado; there was a definite nip in the air.  Not enough to make working outdoors unpleasant, but enough to give me a runny nose.

That got me thinking about a scene I had written from the POV of one of my secondary characters, a young woman who lives in a terribly impoverished situation, one that has been steadily growing worse for the last several years.  As she labors outdoors on a bitterly cold day, she laments the fact that she is forced to wipe her runny nose on her sleeve, “just like a common peasant,” because the last of her handkerchiefs has finally disintegrated from washing and use.

I had known, of course, that this woman was not a common peasant.  But if she isn’t…then what is she?  I know she’s not part of the nobility, unless it’s from “the wrong side of the blanket,” as it were.  Nor does she seem as though she’s from a burgher/merchant class kind of family.  So what does that leave?

I finally decided that she is the last in a long line of people who have served the local nobility as upper servants — stewards, butlers, etc. — for generations.  As such, she would have better manners and a better education than a common servant, and would of course think of herself as being of a different class than the average person from her village.

Which just goes to show that one does not need to be parked in front of a computer with hands on keyboard in order to write.  Got a plot point to work out?  Mull it over in the checkout line in the grocery store.  Having trouble visualizing a character?  Brainstorm ways to get to know her while folding laundry.  Not sure if a bit of dialogue works?  Practice saying lines out loud in the car on the way to work.  (Hint:  You won’t look like a lunatic if you put on your cell phone headset first!  And if you don’t have a cell phone headset…GET ONE.)

And when in doubt…take a shower!

What other ways have people found to move their stories along without actually sitting down in front of a computer and writing?  Anyone else have suggestions for creative multi-tasking?


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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