Finding Time to Write

We’re busy folks: We work (some of us at two jobs); we go to school (some of us are graduating); we have families (some of whom need extra attention right now); we have friends (some of whom want to meet us for coffee, tea, or a movie); we have all sorts of obligations which add up to all sorts of hours, and we have all kinds of hobbies which take up all kinds of creative energy. And we play the Sims. And we write other stories.

And we still find time to write letters for the Pen Pal Project.

How do we do it?

When it comes to writing letters to distant family, friends, or pen pals, many people say they just don’t have time. But if we can find time to write letters from our Sims to other Sims, then surely other busy people can find time to write letters to other people.

Perhaps it’s not a question of finding time.

We carve out time for our pen pal letters because they’re important to us: they’re integral parts of our creative projects. We use them to tell or develop a story, to explore characters, and to stretch our writing. We write them because they fit into what we’re currently investigating through our SimLit.

Maybe those who want to write letters to people they know can view their letters as part of their creative lives, rather than obligations. How can that letter to your sister help you explore the ways that gardening connects you to your family of origin? How can that card to your friend from high school help you reflect on ways you’ve both grown, yet stayed connected?

When a project–even letter-writing–scratches a creative itch, then it becomes something that we need to find time for, or else our mind won’t let us rest.


Question for the Week: How do you find time for your creative projects, including the Pen Pal Project and other writing activities?

6 thoughts on “Finding Time to Write

  1. I’ve found that a lot of times it’s not about finding time, but about kicking oneself to actually using the time one has. Especially during busy times it’s easy to just use what little free time one gets for rest and not for things that require a lot of (mental) effort – no matter how fun it would be. At least that’s what I’ve noticed during my busy times. And resting is just fine a lot of the time. But then at least for me, the unfinished projects will start nagging quickly and I have to start working again soon.

    I figure that any time I’m on the computer (and that’s A LOT of time) and not doing schoolwork (which I don’t have anymore because yay!), I have time to write. So I open up a story I want to work on and if I’m feeling inspired and have the mental energy, I’ll write. But if I don’t get a flow-state or something close to it, I often find it easier to write in small doses and to do something different in-between – maybe read something or go for a walk. But I can always quickly come back to writing if I keep the text file open or know I can quickly start my computer whenever I want. It’s easy for me to go in and out of writing-mode, so sometimes all I need is around ten minutes for writing so I can get something done (though I usually prefer longer writing sessions). I usually write my stories in my head first, and there’s always time for that, no matter where I am. So the physical writing-part often happens after the story is almost done in my head (though it’ll of course change as I write), and is therefore rather quick, most of the time.

    Also I’ve learned to schedule things during school. I have a TO DO -list. So far I’ve mostly used it for schoolwork, but now it has all my creative projects listed instead. The difference is that for my creative projects I don’t have set dates or deadlines, so it’s much more forgiving and more like an inspiration list from where I can pick things to do. It also helps me divide my time without being too restrictive.

    Of course, now that I have a couple of months with not that many formal obligations, I’m going to use A LOT of time for creative projects and be happy about it. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, thanks! I was debating whether or not to post this on the forums, and in the end I picked the blog this time because I haven’t really been active here. But we can of course continue this conversation on the forums.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I need something to keep my mind occupied. I used to watch TV and that was mind numbing. I still watch occasionally but I would rather be writing or reading. My down time is spent doing something…I am not a napper or a late sleeper. I work a full time job and will occasionally have a small amount of downtime during the work hours. I work from home so I don’t have anyone demanding my time during those slow times. I also travel a lot for work so have a lot more downtime to fill. I used to read and amassed a large collection of paperbacks.

    So when I discovered simlit and started attempting to write a story, I didn’t like that I was tied to my computer to do it. I wrote it in a word doc and transferred it to the blog when almost done. Then I would have ideas in my head and would forget them the next time I sat down. Until I discovered google docs. I am sure there are other mediums but I was able to learn it pretty easily. So that is how I find time…my iPad or even my smartphone is always within reach. I can grab it and update chapters or plot lines whenever and wherever I am. This works especially good when I travel because I can take my stories with me and work on them. Electronic media is great for books too… I don’t have to worry about paperback storage and begging someone to take them off my hands.

    But was this more about finding time for our hobbies that we are so passionate about or finding time to write a letter to a loved one? I think it is indeed a lost art when we can instantly communicate via email, instant messages, chat features, social media sites or call someone on our mobile phone and even ‘face time’ them. If I received a letter in the mail, I would actually wonder why. What I think is still important to do the ‘old fashioned’ way is acknowledging gifts or sending a thank you note. It takes more effort than calling them. They went to the effort to do something nice for you and you should do something nice in return.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Cathy,
    I watched a movie last year, can’t remember the name, but in the story they talked about how many weeks your life added up to and for me that really hit home. Considering my family medical history I’ve always know my life would be shorter than I could ever wish it to be and in essence I’ve always felt this sense of urgency to get things done. I am not a tv watcher, in fact we haven’t had tv now for thirteen years, yet even when I did I could never just sit to watch. I always had to be accomplishing something. Cleaning, ironing, crocheting, knitting, or making educational activities for kids.
    How many weeks are left in your life?
    I have too much to do with very little time. True we can never truly know how much time we have left or were given in the first place. Now that I am in my forties I want to leave my lasting mark on this world. Be all I can be till my time is over. Bring a little kindness to the world and hopefully teach others to pass it on. To spend time with my children teaching them as well, to express their creativity and grab life instead of letting it pass them by, till one day they are thinking, “I missed my life”. For you can never get those weeks back and as each week ends, the number ahead is smaller than the number behind.
    I hope you are grabbing life and filling up it’s bag of potential.

    Liked by 3 people

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