Writing is a very time-consuming hobby.
I’m pretty sure I’m not making any groundbreaking statements by saying that. We all know that writing, like most art, demands a lot from anyone who seriously seeks to hone their craft.
It requires concentration. It requires patience. It requires frustration.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the busiest person in the world but I do have my fair share of responsibilities (Jobs, chores, other annoying adulting activities…)
It’s enough that when downtime does come around, I feel conflicted. I’ve gotten myself into the habit of thinking my downtime is my writing time. And I love writing! I’m at my happiest when I do it (most of the time I would even describe it as fun) but I don’t think it relaxing.
A lot of emotions go into it. Excitement, anger, embarrassment–not to mention that I tend to go through the same emotional highs and lows as my characters while writing. As fulfilling as it is draining, as fun as it is FRUSTRATING.
With that being said, it’s often a toss-up between relaxing and writing. Do I want to engage in some relaxation where I idle away the hours in mindless entertainment or do I want to knuckle down with some concentrated writing? Depending on my mood and motivation, I tend to get stressed out by the choice which makes relaxing a more likely option. But then I’m filled with regret the next day due to the time wasted (Yes, I’m so neurotic that the idea of relaxation unnerves me).
Recently (and I mean very recently) I’ve tried measuring writing goals with small pockets of time. On any given day, I know that I have at least 15 to 25 minutes to spare and I force myself to set aside at least that much time to write. The hardest thing about writing is starting to do it and setting that minimum bar sometimes gets me going for two or three more similar sessions. One small victory makes me want to build upon it and before I know it, I have a pretty decent draft in the works.
Of course, there are times, days even, when this little bit of effort is hard to muster. Life can get busy and it’s important not to get down on yourself too bad when you can’t make time for writing or whatever art project you really want to work on.
This is what I tell myself at least. If it can help one other person, I’m happy to put it out there.
So, how do you all put aside for writing? How do you measure progress in your projects?