Showing posts with label busy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label busy. Show all posts

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How do You Capture Writing Time?

As I approach 60, I know that life occurs in stages and I wake up amazed some days at where I am in relation to where I thought I would be. I find when talking to others my age, they are either pursuing their dream or feeling overwhelmed and disappointed that there is never enough time to reach their goal. As a nurse and also a shop owner,  I have heard it more than once from peers..... "I will do such and such when I have more time" or " when I retire I want to take up sewing, quilting, writing, painting, volunteering," and the list goes on. Well folks, I am here to say for the record for those who want to pursue writing the time is now.

While some other skills, hobbies, or crafts may have to wait because of finances or family obligations, writing can be done with little investment and with as little time as 15 minutes a day. It is all about capturing those precious moments of time to pursue your writing dream.

 Writers just beginning need only a piece of paper and a pen. Simple enough, and of course the desire to say something to the reader. I dare say that those of us with some experience need only a pen and paper as well. The vast amount of courses, books, and software that help writers to hone their skills are invaluable but a writer needs a pen, paper, the spark of an idea, and TIME to pursue the dream.

So how do writers capture writing time?

 I find that the most important thing is to prioritize. Making a list of activities that take time in each day and writing this in on the page helps to identify snippets of time that can be directed towards writing time. Scheduling a set time for writing on the calendar makes it as important as any other item you schedule, but only you/I can decide how important to make it.

Preparing is another way to capture writing time. Always carry a small notepad and pen with you wherever you go. Writing phrases of a conversation, the colors of a sunset, the scents, sounds, or adjectives describing an emotional or important event can be jotted down. Later those few words may be all it takes to flesh out a great story or article. Technology allows many notes to be made or recorded on your cell phone deleting the need for pen and paper so being prepared can be a simple as knowing how to utilize those apps on your phone or notepad.

I find that the best way to capture writing time is to actively pursue it After I prioritize the list of tasks for my day, then prepare by having pen and paper, I am better able to pursue valuable writing time every time I have a few extra minutes during the day. I work a part time nursing job and run a quilt shop but I can still flesh out a scene during my lunch break or write a character description during a lull at the shop. I use waiting time at appointments, extra minutes in the early morning or 30 minutes before bed.

 Capturing writing time can be a challenge for those who have kids at home but so rewarding as you find time to squeeze writing in between homework, bedtime, and other family activities. Try for at least 15 minutes a day and you will gradually be able to add more time as your story or article begins to take shape.

For those who pursue writing full time,  an eight- ten hour writing day might be the norm. Others like myself must grab writing time in between another job or business. When writing is a priority, capturing writing time is as much a part of life as doing laundry or making dinner. You just do it. Prioritize, prepare, and pursue.

 How do you capture your writing time?

Terri Forehand captures writing time between nursing, quilting, running a quilt shop, and being a grandma. Author of The Cancer Prayer Book and The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane, she writes from her home nestled in the hills of Brown County Indiana. Visit her author blog at and her author website at

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Finding Balance in Daily Life

by Dallas Woodburn

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about balance. One of my favorite quotes {which I might have shared on here before, I can’t remember} is from the late, great coach and teacher John Wooden. He said the two most important words in the English language are “love” and “balance.” I think that is so true, and yet balance can be really difficult to achieve. Especially in the fast-paced, multi-tasking-obsessed, constant-communication world we live in these days. It’s so easy to get sucked into the void of doing, doing, doing; more, more, more; faster, faster, faster.

Balance is something I am continually striving for. My work ethic is a quality I am really proud about, yet this is something that can easily slide off-balance. When that happens, I become a stressed-out, perfectionist workaholic. That is not who I want to be or how I want to spend my time!

So I’ve been taking some time each day to focus on balance. Find my center. Close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and think of all the things I love about my life. I think about who I want to become. The hard work I plan to put in, the goals I want to accomplish–but also the fun things I wish to do, too. The places I want to travel. The fun books I want to read and movies I want to see and concerts I want to go to. The random treasures I want to take advantage of in everyday life: the awesome pinball arcade Mike & I stumbled upon, the nature trail along the river, the plethora of local restaurants we want to try out.

I’ve started to think about balance as a day-by-day thing, something I am working towards each and every day. For me, a good day does mean putting in two or three or four solid hours of work on my thesis draft. But it also means other things, too: relaxing with my sweetie on the couch watching an episode of The Wire; letting my mind wander while I try out a new dish in the kitchen; going for a long walk around the neighborhood; catching up with my family or friends on the phone; laughing till my stomach hurts over a hilarious video on YouTube; making my way through the stack of good books on my bedside table; and on, and on. A truly good day, to me, means a balanced day. I have discovered that I feel the most fulfilled and joyful and content when my life is balanced.

I saw this cartoon in a recent issue in The New Yorker and I wanted to share it here because it seems super appropriate not just to the theme of this blog, but also to the idea of balance. {Many thanks to my boyfriend Mike for helping me when the scanners at school tried to thwart my efforts!}

This cartoon made me smile, but it also gave me pause. I started my new organization blog because I wanted to become more organized in my daily life, while also saving money and time. But I never want organization to become a source of stress, or to feel pressure for perfection. My life and my apartment have become a little more organized in the past few months. I’m making progress. I’m trying new things and cooking more meals at home and flexing my newly developed decorating muscles. But my life will never be perfectly organized. I will never be that woman in the cartoon.

And I think that’s a good thing.

I’m not striving for perfection. I’m striving for balance. To me, love + balance = happiness.

What’s your happiness equation? How do you find balance in your busy life?

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review. Many of her short stories are compiled online here.

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