This past weekend I offered a workshop on How to Find and Use a Writing Hour. I’ve been banging the Writing Hour drum for a while now, with no plans to stop. This is another drum-banging post.
Why do I promote the one hour a day plan so strenuously?
I had the pleasure of meeting a successful and enthusiastic author this weekend. She’s also a woman with three young children and doing the crazy dance to balance career and family. I was once that young mom with little children, clinging and scratching and clawing for some personal time each day. It was important to me then to keep one toe in the writing world. It was important to my sanity, my self-worth, and my resume. Sometimes it was 15 minutes a day during nap time, but I wrote. Every day. Every day meant the story never left me, and I never left my story world.
Now my life is different. I don’t have the time restraints imposed by young children and PTA and science fair projects. I have an editing business that’s successful enough that I’ve converted a former kid’s room into an official, tax-deductible home office. But I still have the time problem for writing. The more my business grows, the heavier the demands on my time. Now, again, I struggle to find time for my own writing.
For me, salvation came by embracing the one hour writing concept. I write for one hour every morning, at 7:00. I make an announcement on my Facebook page, I note my specific writing goal for the day, and I’m off. By 8:00 a.m., my writing for the day is done–unless I find time later in the day–and I can go about my business and my life knowing I reached my personal writing goal. All this, before I’ve had breakfast!
Below are questions I posted during this past weekend’s workshop.These are meant to help you examine the best, and/or the most practical, time of day for you to carve out a writing hour. At the bottom of the question list are most posts on this same Writing Hour topic.
How to Find and Use a Writing Hour
~ What is your most creative time of day?
~ What is the most practical time of day for you to write?
~ Do you now have an hour of writing time each day?
~ Do you need to carve out an hour of your regular day to write?
~ What is the biggest challenge to writing at your optimum time?
~ What is the biggest challenge to writing every day, for an hour?
~ What can you (or must) you give up or change to work a writing hour into your day?
~ If an hour is not possible every day, is an hour possible on SOME days?
~ If an hour is not possible every day, how many minutes are possible each day?
Preparing to Write for an Hour
~ How many days per week will you write?
~ Where will you work?
~ How can you make your writing space comfortable and distraction-free?
~ Can you turn off email, radio, TV, Facebook, etc?
~ What is your warm-up plan? (journal, review what you wrote yesterday, set a daily word count goal)
~ What outside arrangements must you make to remain undisturbed?
~ How will you record your progress?
~Will you have a time goal?
~Will you have a word goal?
~Will you have a scene goal?
~Will you have a show-up–# of days you showed up to write–goal?
~Will you have no specific goals?
~ What project will you work on in your Writing Hour?
~ Will you commit to seeing this project through from beginning to end?
~ Will you commit to writing every day on this project, until it is completed?
~ Do you have an end date goal for this project?
~ Why is it important to you to write every day on this project?
For more info on writing for an hour a day:
How to Write for an Hour at a Time
How to Make the Most of a Writing Hour
What in the World is a Sprint Journal?
12 thoughts on “A Write Every Day Q&A”
You already know I’m a huge fan of the writing hour. It’s the only way I get anything done.
I do indeed know that, Mary! You are the poster child for the successful writing hour.
Good advice as always, Ramona. I have a 1000 word a day goal (not a lot, I know, but if I keep to it, the story gets told). I think your 1-hour sprint in the morning may be a better idea. I’ll have to try it.
Sandra, I post a thread on Facebook every morning, to encourage people to sprint or write for an hour. Drop and check it out anytime.
Ramona, great post! I carve out a writing hour by getting up an hour early every day to write (hard for a lifelong night owl, believe me). My Fitbit helps enormously because it wakes me up (by vibrating on my wrist) without waking up my husband (even more of a night owl than I am). But it’s the only way to guarantee an hour of quiet solitude and calm that’s dedicated only to writing. Even our three cats know when my writing time is because they’re always waiting at the bedroom door to escort me downstairs, where I make a mug of hot tea and then open up the laptop (with cats sprawled out across the dining room table to watch). –Donna Gough
Donna, it’s fantastic to read that you’ve incorporated the writing hour into your life, so much so that your cats expect it! Good for you. This tells me you really want to write, because losing an hour of the morning is a sacrifice. Keep it up!
My most creative time of day is between 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., but writing at that time is hard on health, marriage, and social life. The get-around is going to a coffee shop. The Internet is a distraction everywhere, and, like Eve, I am curious and must poke around in email, and to emails, I must reply, because my best writing is done in replies, and also in blog posts, five of which I’ve thought of beginnings to since beginning this comment. The major obstacle to my writing, and blog posts don’t qualify as writing, is that I don’t want to. It’s easier to do everything else except housework. That’s the truth. The other truth is that I have plenty of time to carve out an hour, and more, and I have plenty of excuses but no reasons not to. Commitment is a problem. But I have a Pomodoro timer on my laptop now, and gadgets help me focus. My self-absorbed confession of the day, and I don’t expect to receive forgiveness.
You won’t get forgiveness, Kathy, but I will thank you for your comment by giving you a dose of guilt. I have read your work and you really owe it to the world to write more. I mean that sincerely. You are a fine writer, you have great ideas, and I wish I could make you love to write and want to do it every day, because I’d love to read your stories. Can we compromise somehow? You write more, to make *me* happy? 🙂
Thank you, Ramona. I hope it doesn’t sound too full of myself, but I sort of know I do good work, from whence comes a lot of guilt, especially since I’m old enough to need to get going if I’m going to have a body of work. At this point I have about an eyelash, and my high school English teacher is waiting impatiently for at least a limb. I really do like to write, after the first sentence or two, and I love to revise and edit, especially other people’s work. I don’t like to start writing. But if it will make you happy, I’ll do it. Hour a day. Really. Making other people happy is good motivation.
I’m used to guilt. One side of my family has Southern Baptist (female) guilt, and the other has Presbyterian innate depravity and d-mnation. But the Presbyterian side didn’t pay attention to doctrine or read the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, so they didn’t know they were missing out on guilt.
Kathy, your eyelash-limb comment is too funny. I’d like a torso’s worth of short stories, please! If you ever become a lark, join my morning sprint thread on Facebook. Or chime in late, whatever works.
I make a similar joke about guilt. I was raised as a Catholic, so I was exposed to the guilt, but I am French, so it didn’t take. C’est la vie.