Making Time


During October’s writers’ critique group meeting, members shared the different ways that they make (or find) time to write.


The discussion revealed that some of us work with a set schedule: “write from time x to time y every day of the week.”  Others of us work “when-the-spirit-moves-us.”  Still others work somewhere in between: “set aside the next three days, and getting some writing done somewhere in there, and a spot of laundry too!”

Not only was it fun to see how each writer is unique in her/his approach to writing, but also to observe just how many different ways there are to ply a craft.  I have observed bits of each of these methods in my own work; if our conversation was any indication, there are certainly more ways that those listed above to make time for creating art.

Let’s extend this discussion to all you artists, written, visual, and otherwise:

When do you create your art?  Whenever you feel like it?  When your client puts in a request?  At a set time, every day?  Somewhere in between?  Something else?

Do you have separate times allotted for personal work and professional work?

How does your scheduling (or lack thereof) affect your creativity?


6 Responses to Making Time

  1. jason evans says:

    I try to use my train rides (commuting) as creative time, although sometimes I admit it’s dream time or sleep time. I also am trying to work more on my novel during the evenings. Blogging sometimes takes precedence, but I don’t mind that. Writing for my blog has been an amazing learning experience.

  2. JLB says:

    Jason , I used to love commuting on the ferry to Seattle each morning and home each night. I had a solid hour to watch the sun rise (or set), and just feel the cold air off the water and write, sketch, or dream. And of course, riding on the water has the tendency to lull one to sleep as well. 🙂

  3. jamieford says:

    I try to write every night. I did the morning thing too, but evenings seem to work best. From 9-11pm and sometimes well past midnight if I’m feeling it. If I’m tired, I’ll just stop wherever I am. If I don’t I’ll just bang out crap that I have to rewrite anyway. I end up going to sleep thinking about it–-and wake up thinking about it. I try to write each day until I’m done–-to just stay in the story. On this current book, I wrote for five straight weeks without taking a day off, averaging about 2,000 words/day. Then got a little burned out and took two weeks off to do more research. Now back at it for a few more weeks until I’m done. It’s kind of an aggressive schedule, but I need to just obsess over it of I’ll never get it done…

  4. Ester says:

    I draw almost everyday, and usually more than just one image/day. Having a “daily drawing” blog has encouraged me to keep it up, I feel more obligated because of it, which is only helpful. I don’t like the idea of seperating my art between personal and client based, because I want to do my best in all aspects, no matter what the intended use is for. But if there is a deadline for a client due, of course that art will be finished first. I bring a sketchbook with me everywhere, just in case something strikes me, and it’s not always just drawings I put in it, many times it’s little scribblings of writing, and seeing the words is like a break from image after image, it’s like taking a breath.

  5. Trailhead says:

    Hiking, sewing, driving, kayaking. All those activities seem to relax me enough that the thoughts just come. On the other hand, sitting at the computer doing anything — but especially my paid job — is a ruthless creativity killer for me.

    And jlb — riding the ferry from Seattle is one of my favorite things ever.

  6. JLB says:

    Jamie, while I understand reaching the burnout point, I think it’s fantastic that you just plow ahead to finish a book. If you were to just take your sweet time with it, you might have that book on your plate for a long time!

    Ester, I like your ethic of “doing your best in all aspects, no matter what the intended use is for.” I’ve found that sort of attitude helps me with my work by keeping me as engaged with “client work” as I am with my own “personal work.” Also, your comment about the little scribblings of writing within your sketch books really hits home… I know just what you mean.

    Trailhead, I hope you’re feeling better and out enjoying the autumn! I’ve noticed you often seem to just up and run away somewhere for a few days – it’s great that you can recognize what stimulates your mind and what doesn’t, so you can seek a workable balance.

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