7 Tips for Writing and Snacking

Finding time to write

So there you are, I bet, all set to read an article on the best food to eat whilst you write? A little list of non-sticky finger foods to keep you going through the day? Thought so.

No, that’s not what I meant.

I’ve been reading a lot lately from people who say they don’t have time to write. But on this site there are all these great bloggers who yearn to be writers, they’re holding down two full time jobs, look after six kids and go to the gym eight days a week. Yet they are writing.  I have written a couple of comments lately on lovely blogs, where the guys are stretched to the limit, yet they are writing. How are they doing it?

I’d guess they ‘Snack at it’. When you have no time to make a meal of writing, do it in bite-sized chunks. We have a motto in our house ‘A fast swipe at the sink is better than no swipe at all.’ I came across this phrase years ago and it was intended to give students a boot up the bootie with the washing up. In other words, you might not get time to do the lot, but do what you can.

And it works for writing.

1. Collecting the kinds from school? Five minutes outside the school gate with a pen and paper. Waiting for them during swimming club, you’ve half an hour there. Stop nattering and write.

2. The loo and bath are good places for quick jottings. On the other hand, unless you have three hands, writing while brushing your teeth is never going to work.

3. In the hairdressers. Don’t read the magazines, write for them.

4. Going to work. If you’re on the train or bus, whip out that notepad and scribble. If you’re driving, turn the radio off then plot through a scene, write it up quickly when you get there. I wrote a panto like this once. Worked each scene in my head on the journey, wrote it down on arrival at work, then the same again on the way home.

5. Get up an hour earlier. Or even two. If you want to get that novel finished, then you will have to sacrifice sleep for your art. No, I don’t do mornings either, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

6. Set targets. Even if it’s only 100 words, if you do it every day, it soon adds up.

7. Use the timer on the cooker if you need to be somewhere at a certain time, but have a few minutes to spare. Don’t waste precious minutes.

If you’re not writing, it’s not about time.

It’s about wanting.


16 responses to “7 Tips for Writing and Snacking

  1. Candace Knoebel

    This is so true! Before, when I wrote my first novel, I worked full time and then came home and took care of my kids. I used up all my free time to write. I am a firm believer that if you want it bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen!

    Very well said and great, helpful ideas!

    • Thank you! I wondered if people would think I was mad saying it, but it is easier really to write when you don’t have a lot of time. Stuff expands, etc. etc. If you want something badly enough, there is always time to do it. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Great advice! I’m reminded of that saying ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person’. One time I had visitors due and a great story idea I was desperate to get down. I left a used/recycled A4 envelope on the table and a pen and between each task jotted down the ideas and phrases that came to me. I ended up with a tidy house and wrote the short story from my notes within an hour of them leaving. Submitted to a magazine, got paid. Unfortunately, I more often procrastinate or lose momentum, complain about not having time…I just need that boot up the bootie:)

    • I sometimes need the boot too. It’s great when you get an idea and can just write it, but more often than not those ideas come when we least need them. Pens and paper all over the place (how many in my handbag?) are the only way to survive.

  3. Perfect advice! I love to go to the beach whenever I get the chance. So as i walk to the beach I develop story ideas and when I get there, I find a great spot and write the ideas down. Some of my best ideas come from walking to and from the beach. You have to sneak in writing time often.

    • Neat idea that – I go to the beach sometimes, to clear up ideas in my head, but have never thought of sitting down and scribbling there. Thanks for sharing this idea and for commenting.

  4. I love this blog – such a feelgood place! 🙂

    • What a lovely thing to say! Just when I think I’m not writing much or saying anything particularly interesting you pop by and say that. Thank you!

  5. Another wonderful post from Pat! Thank you for sharing; it’s been another good laugh as well. I was, actually, expecting to hear of different methods to keep sauce from dripping onto the paper, by use of better snacking techniques. Still, I enjoyed it.

    • Eating in a plastic bag helps.
      I think rather too much of my writing seems to involve food. I really should put my characters on a diet.
      Glad you liked it.

      • It’s always struck me funny that many stories, especially those that span weeks and months, rarely ever show their characters stopping for food, or to ‘excuse themselves’. Few stories do, and there are many that tell of hunters scouting plains in search of wildlife. It adds realism to the piece, in my opinion. I mean, unless you personally know someone that doesn’t eat for days or weeks on end, I see nothing wrong with including food in a manuscript.

  6. Pingback: Morning Papers Aren’t Logical – Writing Exercise « Linda Long Writes!

  7. Ohhh, I like! You linked this to me from 1 Tips to Keep on Writing. It most certainly did not offend me. I mean, why would it? Oh, because it is truthful and has shown me how often I waste precious writing time? Well in that case, I AM offended. Unfortunately, I am the one who offended me.

    Alas, I hate being a writer. But I love writing. Thanks for the tips!

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