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Rhoda Nightingale
06-07-2011, 03:37 PM
So I saw this book (http://www.amazon.com/Nighttime-Novelist-Finish-Novel-Spare/dp/1582978468/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307445865&sr=1-1) in the reference section while looking for the latest edition of the Writer's Market, and the first thing I thought was: "Wait. There's another way?"

Elsewhere in AW, I've seen references to writers who write "only" in their spare time, and again, I think, "There's another way?"

Else-elsewhere in AW, I've seen folks argue that when you're a writer, you always make time to write no matter how busy you are, and I find that absolutely true.

So here's my question: Those of you who write at times other than your "spare time," what does that mean?

For myself, because I have a full time job and a handful of other obligations, I use the time when I'm not required elsewhere to write. I think of this as my "spare time" because no one's asking me to do something else and no one's around to interrupt me.

So what about the rest of you? When else do you write?

quicklime
06-07-2011, 04:57 PM
So I saw this book (http://www.amazon.com/Nighttime-Novelist-Finish-Novel-Spare/dp/1582978468/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307445865&sr=1-1) in the reference section while looking for the latest edition of the Writer's Market, and the first thing I thought was: "Wait. There's another way?"

Elsewhere in AW, I've seen references to writers who write "only" in their spare time, and again, I think, "There's another way?"

Else-elsewhere in AW, I've seen folks argue that when you're a writer, you always make time to write no matter how busy you are, and I find that absolutely true.

So here's my question: Those of you who write at times other than your "spare time," what does that mean?

For myself, because I have a full time job and a handful of other obligations, I use the time when I'm not required elsewhere to write. I think of this as my "spare time" because no one's asking me to do something else and no one's around to interrupt me.

So what about the rest of you? When else do you write?



it means that you set defined times.......maybe part of the issue is in how you define "spare time"; nobody is suggesting you write in church, or during sex, or while driving to work, but the "anti-spare crowd" are saying if you want to write seriously, you MAKE the time to write, you don't just traipse around the house until you go "shit, I have nothing better to do, and I'm 'in the mood', so hell, I'll write today".

The argument against writing in your spare time, and in favor of setting time or page limits and fighting to keep them, is that it is very easy to procrastinate if you aren't motivated, and that leads to a whole lot of nothin' getting done. If you set defined times, and keep them, then you aren't coming up with other things to do instead.


As an interesting side note, I have seen very few "how to" essays from successful authors telling you to write when motivated; they seem to be very heavily in the "set a time and write" camp. Then again, those who are succeeding in writing as a business are treating it like a BUSINESS, so this doesn't seem all that surprising--how many other jobs do you do "when you feel like it" and expect that to be enough for success?

amrose
06-07-2011, 05:04 PM
I'm a spare time writer.

I do it when I'm not busy at work (when I'm not on AW or reading) and in the evenings and weekends. Even when I have no plans for the weekend other than laying around, writing doesn't take up all my time. I laze. I work up to the pen and paper, but I always manage to jot a least a paragraph.

seun
06-07-2011, 05:45 PM
I write when I'm not at work or doing 'life' stuff which includes everything from eating to cleaning to being with my wife.

That means I write almost every evening and during the weekends.

Sarah Madara
06-07-2011, 05:53 PM
I think it's mostly a matter of semantics. If you aren't being paid to put your butt in the chair, then you are doing it in your spare time.

However, I don't really think of myself as a spare time writer because I don't really have spare time. It's not that I'm so terribly busy, but once I had kids, the feeling of being "done" for the day just went away. I'm always behind on stuff I should be doing. The house would be cleaner if I wrote less. I wouldn't scramble to wash T-ball uniforms at the last minute if I wrote less. We might eat better dinners if I wrote less. I probably would have taken care of my overgrown gray roots by now if I wrote less. It wouldn't take me three weeks to get back to an email - assuming I don't lose it entirely - if I wrote less. I know this because I've seen all these changes since I took up writing :)

My father used to quote a phrase: "Work expands to fill the time allotted."* I've always found it to be 100% true.

*Google search turned this up as Parkinson's Law.

Phaeal
06-07-2011, 06:43 PM
I don't write in my spare time. It's my second job, one I do seven days a week. When I hear "spare time," I think of random hours snatched here and there, rather than a "work-like" schedule (which could be as little as an hour a day, so long as you adhered to that time as faithfully as you'd attend your first job.)

AmsterdamAssassin
06-07-2011, 07:02 PM
I chose an occupation [security officer] that allows me to use about 6 hours of every 8 hour shift to devote to writing and researching, so I rarely have to write in my 'spare time'.

However, I still have rent to pay and mouths to feed, which is why I've opted for an occupation that takes as little of my time and mind as possible.

My wife wants to re-enter the working life, she doesn't get satisfaction from being a housewife. If she succeeds, she can command a higher salary that I can, since she has a university degree.

In that case, I will become a househusband ;) and care for out two children, which means I will write in my spare time.

MJNL
06-07-2011, 07:03 PM
Right, I agree with the others. "Spare time"="whenever I get around to it." Which really isn't very conducive with consistent productivity, in my opinion.

Then again, I'm lucky enough to be able to do this writing thing full time, so... it's all structured and scheduled for me. In my spare time I pretend to be an artist as well, lol. Hopefully I’ll get that all scheduled out too, sometime soon.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-07-2011, 07:50 PM
In my view, 'spare time' is time not spent on jobs. Time that is usually spent for leisure, hobbies, social gatherings, meditations, personal growth.

If I do become a househusband, there will be times when I have to look after two children, do the housekeeping, groceries and cooking. But my son goes to school five days a week and my baby girl goes to daycare three days a week. So there are three full days unencumbered with children, where I will set aside time devoted for writing. Not 'if I get around to it', but Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 13.00-17.00 hours. Something like that.

And there's also the evenings...

happywritermom
06-07-2011, 08:16 PM
For me, spare time is the waiting room in the doctor's office, McDonald's play land, waiting in the van for the kids to get out of school, the shower (I scribble down notes when I get out), etc. With my 4-year-old twins at home and my older kids out of school in two weeks, that will be the best I can do this summer. I will have no scheduled writing time.
But that's okay.
I'm in the beginning stages of a third novel and I almost find this method more productive. Even when I'm not writing, I'm often thinking about the novel. Plots, characters and settings are germinating. I jot them down on napkins, receipts, small notebooks, whatever is available at the time. When fall comes, I will still have very little writing time (the twins will be in preschool only two days a week), but it will be highly productive writing time. A year and a half from now, all the kids will be in school full time and I'll be able to write more regularly during the school year. I often wonder whether that will have a negative impact.

Kate Thornton
06-07-2011, 08:36 PM
I don't have any spare time. I use all of it. I write in some of it.



..

Alitriona
06-07-2011, 08:54 PM
No spare time here either. Whenever I'm doing something like being on here or writing I should be somewhere else doing something else. I am very acquainted with sleep deprivation.

skylark
06-08-2011, 12:17 AM
To me, spare time is time which can be reallocated without problem if it needs to be.

So it's time when I'm not at work or doing essential household chores.

But if deciding not to do whatever it is has basically no consequences, it would be spare time even if I'd set it aside in advance.

If I was being paid for my writing, it wouldn't be spare time because the consequence of not writing then would be not being paid.

Are you writing in your spare time if you treat that time as you would if you were working for a 3rd party in it? Interesting point. I'm not sure.

Rhoda Nightingale
06-08-2011, 02:09 AM
Thanks for all the replies!

Okay, I think I've been defining "spare time" in the same way as Sarah Madara and happywritermom--not setting a specific time to do it, but doing it whenever I can. That being all the time I spend away from work and other obligations. I do have weekly word count goals that I set for myself, and I generally come at least somewhat close. I guess it just never occured to me to make a regimented writing schedule, as if it was "work." Because I enjoy writing. It's not a struggle to make myself do it every day. (It's a bigger struggle not to, if there are other things I really ought to be doing.)


"maybe part of the issue is in how you define "spare time"; nobody is suggesting you write in church, or during sex, or while driving to work"
heh, I've actually done two out of three of these....

Elessar
06-08-2011, 02:34 AM
"Spare time" refers to the span of day between the last chore and before the coffee wears off. If you drink as much Java as I do...that's a good two to three hours of writing :)

entropic island
06-08-2011, 02:41 AM
John Green is a full time author, along with many others.

But I think if it's a second job, it's also not spare time.

I agree with the "getting paid" definition.

Which means I do it in my spare time.

Carrie in PA
06-08-2011, 03:11 AM
I don't set a schedule for writing. If I did, the first time I missed my "writing appointment" for a baseball game that was rescheduled, I'd feel guilty, and that's (to me) stupid, because cheering my son's team on and being there is more important to getting words on a page or logging hours.

That being said, I usually have a notebook with me, and I make random notes for my WIP or continue a scene I was in the middle of.

Sometimes I also curl up on the couch and watch TV with the husband... could I be writing? Sure. But in the grand scheme of my life, it just can't be front & center right now. And that's okay. I write nearly every day, and I'm making good progress, so that's my personal yardstick for now.

Now at the point I can quit my day job, I'll schedule more seriously. (Aaahhhhhh, for that day to come swiftly! LOL)

Manuel Royal
06-08-2011, 05:41 AM
I can have a whole day of absolutely unscheduled "spare time", and still not write -- unless I set myself a schedule, and stick to it. I have a mutant gene for laziness; it's almost a superpower.

ladyleeona
06-08-2011, 08:15 AM
Spare time? What is that? :)

Between full-time work, full-time school, research, and 'normal' stuff (like eating and sleeping occasionally), I don't have much of what I'd call 'spare time.' But I do think that it's important to schedule a time--an hour, thirty mins, etc--that one can write every day. I have trouble sticking to mine, but I do get stuff done when I adhere to it.

Manuel Royal
06-09-2011, 07:41 AM
It would be of tremendous help to me if I could train myself to launch right into productive writing mode. Seems to require about an hour of just staring and thinking first.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-09-2011, 10:39 AM
It would be of tremendous help to me if I could train myself to launch right into productive writing mode. Seems to require about an hour of just staring and thinking first.

The staring and thinking is part of your process. Writing is more than just sitting down and letting your fingers dance over the keyboard, or your pen glide over the paper.

Jamesaritchie
06-09-2011, 09:10 PM
"Spare time" means you have two jobs, three kids, and all the time you have comes in fifteen minute chunks spread out between five in the morning and midnight.

I do not write in my spare time. I have twenty-four hours per day at my disposal, so I set a regular schedule and stick to it.

And you can train yourself to start writing the moment you sit down. It isn't that difficult, but it is something you have to practice. It's a mindset. If you believe you don't have to start writing immediately, then you won't.

As E. L. Doctorow says, Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Only writing is writing.

This applies to thinking about writing, as well. If you treat any of this as if it is writing, the real writing isn't likely to get done, and even if it does, it will take forever.

adarkfox
06-10-2011, 05:03 AM
When I had a 5-day-a-week cube job I got a lot done on my un-busy days and a lot of plotting done on the hour commute.

Now I work part-time and write anytime I can sit down longer than a minute.

LJD
06-11-2011, 08:48 AM
I *try* to make a point of writing about 45 minutes before I go to work in the morning, but it means waking up early. If I'm tired or was up in the middle of the night for a while, I don't set my alarm early. So I only actually end up doing this 3-4 weekdays a week. At this point, I don't see it beneficial to force myself out of bed early if I'll be really tired because I have to function at my job.

Otherwise I write in my *spare* time (based on how you define it). I don't have any kind of schedule other than weekday mornings, but usually put in maybe a total of 3-4 hours per week in the evenings, and several more hours on the weekends. I find this works OK for me--I don't have problems forcing myself to write.

Sassee
06-11-2011, 09:28 AM
There is no spare time. There is the time when I procrastinate on one thing (like the final paper I'm supposed to be writing right now) to spend 30 minutes writing before I fall asleep on the couch with the laptop still glowing brightly on my lap... :)