Finding the Time
By: Nick Hupton
Whenever I do a book event of any kind, one of the questions I always have to answer is, “When do you find the time?” It’s a great question even though I am running out of creative ways to answer it. I am a high school English teacher. I coach the Varsity tennis team. I have two young kids, ages five and three. Suffice it to say, time is a luxury I don’t have. A lot of authors share this dilemma. So, my easiest answer to that question is usually, “Whenever there is a spare minute.”
Ideally, we authors would wake up in the morning, trot downstairs, have a little breakfast, read the paper, listen to the birds chirp, and then plop ourselves down at our desks to spend the next four to five hours writing to our heart’s content. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for most of us. I recently read Stephen King’s, On Writing (a must read for every writer, I should add). There is a lot of good advice for writers in that book. Very practical stuff. But one common motif that King continues to focus on is how important it is to write every day. He tries to write about ten pages a day at least. Of course, this is Stephen King we are talking about here. He gets paid millions of dollars to write, his kids are old enough that they aren’t constantly asking for more Goldfish. He has the luxury that so many authors do not: he can spend his days writing.
So the question is: How do we writers find the time to do what we love? When does the writing happen? Although I am clearly not living the life of Stephen King, I do agree with him. Writing every day is crucial. There is no way I could sit down during my kids’ nap times and pound out ten pages, but I do try to get something on paper. I am currently writing the sequel to The Ridge, and over the past couple of weeks (being a teacher does help me find some time in the summer) I have made a staunch effort to get some writing done every day. Even if it is just one scene. At least then the story will continue to move forward. I can stay in touch with my characters. I can stay consistent with my plot. Some days you may only be able to write one scene. Other days you may get five pages or even ten, like Stephen King. But however you do it, writing every day is a rule every serious author should follow.
It’s not a great answer to the question. Again, we all wish we had Stephen King’s time. The reality is that most of us don’t. So, we do what we can and we hope that what we turn out on the page is worthy of our readers.
Then we turn off the computer, or put down our pens, stand up, and follow the kids to the kitchen to get them more Goldfish.