Writing Amidst the Chaos

It was late. Darkness peeked in the window at me. A chill ran up my spine and tickled the back of my neck. A sense of trepidation crept beneath my defenses, yet I refused to move. The enticing scent of chocolate wafted up from the small table beside my chair, but I couldn’t look away long enough to grab any of the M&Ms waiting for me there.

The scene on the screen before me made me flinch, then cry, but I continued my late-night writing session. If I wanted to reach my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I had no choice but to crank out another five hundred plus words, even though the hour on my clock stretched too far beyond my bedtime for my liking.

The life of a writer isn’t easy. When you have two jobs outside of your novels, the minutes to write come few and far between, and when you find them you savor them, protect them.

How do I find the time to write amidst the chaos that is a writer’s life?

Here’s a glimpse at my recent days:

After my morning Bible study and copyediting sessions, I attempt to snag a half hour to write, but this is often a combination of writing, lunch, and laundry or dishes. Then my afternoon job of tutoring takes over, often ending late into the evening. This time of year has me hooked on NBA and NHL playoffs, and those games are typically in the evenings. So I grab some dinner and my laptop, because background noise usually helps me focus better anyway. And, of course, there’s late-night writing, which is quite productive for me, most of the time.

Last month (April) was Camp NaNoWriMo, and I originally had set my goal at 24,000 words, since I knew I’d be busy with other obligations and the writing would have to come last on the to-do list. Thanks to the above-described minute-snatching and the Twitter page @NaNoWordSprints (and Divine inspiration for the pages I was writing), I was able to cruise to over 60k. Not only that, but I’m now only two to four scenes away from finalizing the first draft of my current work in progress. That excites me but also makes me nervous.


Because next comes editing. That’s when I print out my story and rip it apart, deciding what needs extra work, what to completely delete and/or rewrite from scratch, and what’s great enough to make the cut to the next round of edits. Oh, and then there’s deep research, which I tend to save for that first round of editing for some odd reason. Never sure why, actually. Just part of my process, I guess. Anyway, I eventually put the story back together again, with a stronger sense of who’s who and what’s what. And hopefully a story that makes sense to someone other than myself.

Though every time I write I further hone my process and better discover what works well for me, I still struggle at times to write amidst the chaos. It’s hard not to let life interrupt a great story, because, let’s face it, life is a fantastic tale of its own.

Do you struggle with something you love when life grows chaotic?

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