This week I have two events. Firstly, tonight I will attend a meeting of the Diversity Committee, who are co-hosting an event with one of my other organizations I volunteer with, the Arts & Culture Council. The event is a celebration of Canada’s 150 but also to bring the artistic and cultural diversity of our locality to the public. There has been a hive of activity to bring together numerous groups and individuals for this event and it is logistically demanding. Luckily with so many volunteers assisting in this venture the workload has been spread, making it easier to cope with. We are on countdown to 11th June for Heritage Day of Strathcona County.
My next event is on Tuesday, which is the regular meeting of my writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. I always look forward to these meetings not only because it is fun to exercise a writing prompt, I create and hear the responses but to share my work and get valuable feedback as well as network. There are a few core people that never miss the meeting but lots of ‘new’ and ‘irregular’ visitors as well so we never know how many people to expect. Sometimes it is five other times nineteen. It makes the evening a lot of fun.
Do you attend a regular writing group?
What format does it take?
From April 5–9, over a dozen Canadian writers will gather for the ImagiNation Festival at the Morrin Cultural Centre in Quebec City, QC.
The 18th Annual North Shore Writers Festival happens April 7–8 at North Vancouver City Library in North Vancouver, BC.
Book Cover GritLit
The fantastic gritLIT Readers and Writers Festival takes place April 7–10 in Hamilton, ON; the lineup is yet to be announced. UPDATE HERE: http://www.gritlit.ca/
To have inspiration for our writing we must observe life, to avoid our family and friends abandoning us we need to engage with them, to pay the bills we must usually work a day job, to maintain our word count or deadline we must organize writing time. So the question is, how can we juggle all of these demands on our time with failing at each one?
Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between these is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap, a teenager ‘must’ be taken to a friends house, your husband needs help with a project or dare I say it your boss needs something from you? We inevitably crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later? We may scramble to jot down that idea, phrase or even paragraph before being torn away. I have looked to other writers, famous or not, and tried to delve beyond the obvious and gleam an insight into their methods of finding time. There are numerous hints and tips populating the internet but in the end you know your life and its limitations best. You may get up extra early, stay awake until the breaking dawn or cram a few paragraphs into your lunch hour – whatever works for you and your writing – is the right way to go. The trick is how to organize your time productively.
How do you schedule your writing?
What time of day works best for you?
I have to admit my writing is not scheduled. I take advantage of any time I’m left alone and once absorbed find it difficult to let go. Weekend mornings are good for me as I get up early and have several hours while my daughter is still sleeping and my husband is playing about in the garage! Other times I can use are the evenings when I arrive early for writing group meetings and write until the allotted time. Other ‘escape’ opportunities do arise and I always take advantage of them: a cancelled appointment, the house to myself or the glory of a writing retreat! Obviously, I dream of the day I can shut myself away with my laptop and not have to answer to anyone…it will happen I just need to be patient.
With my freelance work increasingly demanding more of my time, I have to split my writing with that of clients. Maybe I am wrong but I tend to complete a client’s work prior to my own. Having a deadline for a paying job and completing it is, to my mind, more important and vital: a) for repeated work b) for remuneration. That is not to say I believe my own writing is secondary, far from it. Within my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I am fortunate to have other writers who engage in an annual novel workshop. At the beginning of the year, when several of us have participated in NaNoWriMo and others are ready to share their first draft, we meet every month until June (sometimes longer). We section our novels and email them to each other, then edit and comment on the narrative. Then at month’s end email our editing and meet to discuss the stories. It is beta reading within a ‘safe’ environment if you will. This mutual assistance enables me to edit my current manuscript with the views of several other authors and a ‘faster’ editing process too.
Care to share your writing schedule or tips you found useful?
My writing area expands a little each year! Where do you write?