Since most of us writerly types, yours truly included, do not have the luxury of being full-time writers and have to squeeze writing in between a day job, housework, cooking, shopping, etc., etc. (you know what I’m talking about), finding the time to get a few words down can be, shall we say, tricky.
I’ve tried stealing a few minutes at work (which admittedly is a large part of how I won NaNoWriMo last year) but for some reason I can’t seem to get myself to concentrate on any of the various stories I’m working on while seated at my office desk. I’m paranoid that someone is going to pop into my cube and catch me doing it (this did actually happen once at a different job), and I’ve read about people being fired for doing that. So mostly when I’m not working and have a few spare moments at work, I compulsively-obsessively-frantically surf the Web just to keep the screen changing on my desk. I think it’s part of my ADD. Or maybe I’ve made myself ADD by this behavior. Who knows.
I try to come up with creative ways of getting the words out at least, because we all know they tend to pop into our heads the moment we have no mechanism for recording them: driving in the car, standing in line at the grocery store, anyplace our minds are free to wander. Awhile back, I did pick up an electronic voice recorder to have handy in the car while stuck in traffic since I spend nearly two hours a day in that mode. But that’s dicey, you have to be able to operate the device blindfolded to use one while driving and not keep looking down at it. And then there’s the whole thing of being able to stand the sound of your own voice, and feel comfortable dictating. This is a skill that you have to develop, make no mistake. It’s one thing to listen to the clacking of keys on the keyboard (they’re purposely designed to make a certain sound, did you know?), it’s another entirely to dictate dialog or narrative. You know how the words often come in fits and starts, the recording ends up being something like this:
“he walked into the room… ”
“it was dark… and um…. no wait, he saw a light in …no no no…”
“she came at him, holding the a.. a what? an axe? no, just a candle…erm…”
“dogs were barking…why are there dogs? where did they come from?”
Then I start to channel James Dean: “This is tearing me APAAAARTT!”
At least people think I’m using a cell phone with a hands-free device if they see me talking to myself.
At home, I rotate around with the laptop from bedroom, to living room to dining room…trying to find someplace I can sit that doesn’t annoy me. And then I’m wracked by guilt that I’m not out cleaning up the yard, or mopping the floors, or doing something else responsible. All I need is to win the lottery so I can have a full staff of housekeeper, cook, gardeners, personal shopper, maintenance crew and I’ll be all set.
Somehow I have to relearn how to Plant Butt in Chair and just get to work.