I popped by Waterstone’s recently and bought a copy of Writing Bestselling Children’s Books by Alexander Gordon Smith (author of various succesful and crazy-mad stories for kids).
I flipped through it during lunch today and thought about something that my friend Kaz Mahoney is doing over on her blog – and that is to blog something each day for say a month to get in the habit of writing online and to create content for the blog but also to hopefully share and learn something at the same time.
I quite like this book that Gordy wrote – it’s subtitled: 52 brilliant ideas for inspiring young readers.
And so I’m going to do a crazy mesh of what Kaz is doing on her blog and mix it with Gordy’s book and I’m going to write a piece a day on each of the 52 chapters in Writing Bestselling Children’s Books.
First up is the chapter “In the Zone” and it deals predominantly with those of us who say: I want to write one day, but I don’t have the time.
Well, like the book advises: make the time. Many other books, agent’s blogs and writers’ blogs say exactly the same thing: make the time to write. You will have time to write if you think about your day. Put away distractions, steal an hour or half an hour and go somewhere and be with yourself and write.
It doesn’t even have to be on a laptop. Notebooks (hmm, pretty moleskines) are perfectly fine and lovely tools to lug around and write in. I wrote brief chapter headings and a mini-synopsis during my20 minute commute into Victoria on Tuesday on a story idea hubby Mark and I brainstormed up over lunch in a restaurant on Monday. It’s silly and frivolous and I love it. A future project, neatly filed away so that it can percolate and drew strength. And I wrote it in a slender biscuitcoloured moleskine with a pink pen. Because that’s what was handy at the time.
Wearing my reviewers hat, when I meet people, invariably a lot of publishers and authors, at book launches and things, the invariable question is: where do you get the time to read so many books? And the honest answer is: during my commute and Friday night into Saturday morning, lying on the couch, whilst the house is quiet.
When they learn that I’m also a writer, they look at me like I can split myself in two and be in two places at once. (This is in fact my superpower, please don’t tell anyone.)
And it’s a case of making the time. I don’t watch a lot of TV. Most channels we record and then watch over the weekend because we can fast forward the adverts. Or we buy / rent the entire box-sets of tv-shows as they are easier to watch that way.
Then, during the week, if I get home before 10pm, I try and write a bit. But most of my writing gets done on weekends. Both Mark and I would take a Saturday afternoon to write. Sling on some good tunes and just write. (Please imagine here a frenzy of perfect words flowing from my keyboard to my screen and onto a word page, no need for revising because yannow, it’s perfect). On Sundays, after doing shopping and washing, we may head off to a local coffeeshop and set up there for an hour or so to write or read.
Obviously we are quite fortunate in that we have the choice to do this. Other aspiring writers have partners who don’t write or who don’t like seeing them write, seeing it as time away from them and their family, if there are kids. But I’ve read a great many “how to” books and a great many interviews with published and succesful authors and all of them had situations to overcome, and yet they somehow managed. Their drive and their want was big enough.
They packed up their procrastination and excuses, they made hard choices by asking someone to look after their kids for say an hour or made extra servings of breakfast pancakes for their husbands to get that hour off, so that they can follow their dream.
I remind myself about that every single day when I heave a sigh as I sit myself down infront of my computer at home. Make the time to follow your dream.
Don’t ever be that guy who turns around and says: but I didn’t have time. <- Because that is a lie. And it’s an even worse lie because it’s a lie you tell yourself.