D.J. Adamson, author of the Lillian Dove Mystery series, shares 5 ways to get it done … and on time. D.J. is one busy woman so she knows whereof she speaks (or, in this case, writes).
No, I am not one of these people who start Christmas shopping in September. With my luck, as for how life revolves for my protagonist in the Lillian Dove Mystery series, the presents I purchased would no longer fit, be liked or not already purchased by those I meant to give the gifts to. And no, I do not have the time or money to go up in the snow-clad mountains like Stephen King’s character in his book Misery to get away from life to finish a book. Come to think of it, that didn’t work well for his character either. “I’m your number one fan,” ended up sledgehammering the writer. And no, I am not a Super Woman. No S on this chest. But, I have learned a few tricks that can help anyone get something done…especially that short story or novel that’s been hatching in their creative treasure chest.
- If doing this project was like a job, and you were being paid enough money to pay the rent, you’d find a way to get it done. But, okay. Writers don’t always have a bundle of bills in their wallet. So, I’ve found, like a job, I just do it. Like brushing my teeth in the morning, I get up and do it. I don’t consider if I want to or should I? Do I have the time, do I feel creative? Is my muse whispering wonderous words in my ear? No, well too bad. Get up anyway. As easy as that. I write every morning for at least an hour. It’s how I start my day. No matter the weather, the comfy warm covers, or my clock that says I have another two hours before going to work, I get up—changing out of PJs isn’t required—go to my desk and write. All three Lillian Dove books, including the latest, LET HER GO, were written in my nightgown.
- Some say, “Well, I’m more of a “night kind of person.” I bet they don’t work night shifts for a paycheck, and if they do, I bet some wish they had “regular” hours. A lot of quote marks here, but I think you get my drift. Waiting until night allows for the world to set in. Or, if you don’t go to work until six at night, then your morning hour would start at four. It’s perspective.
I have been writing every morning for at least thirty years. I get up, go to the computer, and write. It doesn’t necessarily matter what. Like athletes need to get their blood moving, I need to get the words circulating. This doesn’t mean my day is necessarily finished. I write three to four hours a day while working a job–a professor with student papers to grade, having a family, writing a monthly book review newsletter Le Coeur de l’Artiste, and sitting down to watch TV with my husband at night. My mother used to say, “You can do a lot in an hour.” Sometimes that’s the only slot I have, one hour. But there are several “one hours” in my day available. Plus, I have found, once I start in the morning, my brain continues, the words circulate, while I am busy with all the other things so that when I do sit down for another hour’s worth, I am ready.
P.S. I have been known to stop mid-lecture to write an inspiring line of dialog that pops into my head.
- Okay, I’m old. I can remember when paper and pen were necessary to write. What excuse do you have, today? Cell phones, IPads, computers. Technology is around you twenty-four hours a day. Is there really any excuse? And if you only find that hour a day every morning to write, read those other “pause periods” that come into your day. I listen to Audible in my car going to work, and read every night before bed—even if it’s the twenty minutes I have before dropping off to sleep.
- If you need a reward like a paycheck to work, then give yourself one. “When I get this short story done,” I get to go shopping for _____________. Don’t allow yourself to buy anything on the whim, wait for it.
But when do I breathe if my day is so full? Breathing is involuntary. Without it, you die. Dedicated breathing, what I call meditation or “grounding myself” can happen at any point in my day. I don’t need to sit cross legged to do it. And, I find a way to include the necessity of sanity in my day…even if it is standing in the sun, feeling the warm, the breeze, shutting off the circulating words for a few seconds–breathe.
- One last thing to maybe get you off and going, to give you some sage advice to contemplate that may inspire you not to procrastinate one day longer:
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
Write this question on your mirror. Put it as a reminder on your computer. I know two things….life, as I perceive it, lasts only a finite number of heartbeats. I have no idea how many I was born with or how many I have left. And, Einstein has proven that there is only NOW, the moment.
I wish I could say I was a genius, a bestseller, and this tad bit of encouragement was going to help you get going on that project you want to write, get done, or start and bring your great success. If I were honest, I’d tell you; I was late in getting this blog to Maggie King. But, I do write an hour every morning. I do write three to four hours every day.
For those who found themselves inspired from reading this post, I hope you will let me know how it inspired you or share how you have found ways to get things done.
D.J. Adamson is an award winning author of both her mystery novels and her science fiction novel. She is the editor of Le Coeur de l’Artiste, a newsletter which reviews books, and a blog, L’Artiste which offers authors the venue to write on craft, marketing, and the creative mind. D.J. teaches writing and literature, and to keep busy when she is not writing or teaching, she has been a board member of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and Sisters in Crime Central Coast, a member of the Southern California Mystery Writers Organization, California Writers Club and Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society. Her books can be found and purchased in bookstores and on Amazon. To find her, her blog L’Artiste, or newsletter go to http://www.djadamson.com. Make friends with her on Facebook or Goodreads.
Note from Maggie: I was privileged to guest post on D.J.’s beautiful L’Artiste blog two years ago: “Did Book #1 Pave the Way for Book #2?”