~ By Tanya Agler
Four busy kids, one wonderful husband, one incorrigible Basset hound, and one adorable bunny. All living under the same roof as me, and all encouraging me in my writing in their own weird and wonderful ways, from scurrying on my laptop keyboard to nudging my hand if I’m at my desk (I’ll let you guess which two do that 🙂 ) I know I’m beyond fortunate to have my very own support group, urging me on from the sidelines. But if there is one question I am asked as often as what type of romance I write, it’s this one: how do I find time to write?
To-do lists. It’s not always easy to find time, but prioritizing how I spend that precious time is one of the most important tools in my arsenal. One of my favorite writing mentors has shared her stories of how to-do lists are one of her writing lifelines. At RWA2015, one of my favorite take home items was the blank journal/notepad sitting at each breakfast table with a quote from Julia Quinn on the cover, “Finish the book. The world is full of first chapters.” Each day, I take a moment to write down my goals for the day, and I take great pleasure in crossing them off, one by one. A member of my local chapter gave a wonderful speech at the January program, urging those of us who write out to-do lists to give ourselves the gift of some easy cross-offs so we feel a better sense of accomplishment. So one day, I might include checking Facebook because that one is easy for me to strike a line through. I try to prioritize my list, though. Unless I write or edit a certain number of words that day, I don’t get to read some of my favorite writing craft blogs. My to-do lists are also on the side of a spreadsheet I keep where I record my daily goals and word counts. Sometimes I kick myself for not getting more done. Then I try to go back and see what I did do that week. It usually helps.
Starbucks. If I’m at home with the kids, one always interrupts before I even open the file of my WIP. They have a built-in radar detector that goes into full alert if I try to write at home. They were all accommodating during a snow event where we were all under the same roof for three days. I headed to the basement where my bunny then helped me write. I spent a lot of time hitting delete after his little paws scurried across the keyboard. Over the past three years, I’ve learned to write at my local library, local restaurants, and various parking lots.My local Starbucks barista went into shock the day I ordered a black iced tea instead of my usual passionfruit tango. Going to Starbucks and getting away from the basket of laundry always waiting to be folded or the dishwasher always waiting to be reloaded is one way I find the time to write. It’s a luxury I’ve built into my writing budget.
Fellow writers. If there’s one thing I love to do besides talk about writing, it is to discuss the importance of RWA and my chapters. My fellow writers push me to want to dig deeper, write better, and grow in the craft. Fellow writers understand that compulsion to write every day, to meet your characters, to tell their story. I listen to their stories and take their best tips to heart.
Ultimately, I find the time to write because writing is a part of me. Finding time to write is an absolute necessity. Every writer has a different reason for finding those extra minutes in a day to write. No matter how you find your extra time, make sure you write. Practice BICHOK: Butts In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. Finish your book.
Tanya Agler is a write-at-home mom who is often found at her local library, Starbucks or Panera. As yet unpublished, she is a member of RWA, CRW and Georgia Romance Writers. Her agent is Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She has been a finalist in several chapter contests (2014 Maggie Contest, 2014 and 2015 Marlene Contest among others). You can friend her on Facebook (Tanya Agler) or follow her on Twitter (@TanyaAgler). Her blog is tanyaagler.wordpress.com. She will be attending RWA 2015 in July and would love to hear all about your writing space and routine.