Finding time to write

Jeroen Steenbeeke  
Posted
It should be no secret that I don't sell enough books to make any sort of a living. If my Amazon sales rank wasn't enough of a hint, then my bio of course mentions that I have a day job as a Software Engineer. An often heard excuse among would-be writers is that they'd write a book if they'd simply have the time.

Okay, first off, if there's one thing I lack more than anything else it's time, but that didn't stop me from writing and releasing nine books. It's simply a matter of priority.

That said, I do have to admit that recently, I have to expend a bit more effort to get writing done.

What happened?


Last march, I transfered to another project team for the day job, which also meant moving to a different office. This mostly worked out in my favor - the new office is only a half hour commute (instead of an hour), twenty minutes of which are by train (instead of forty-five). This means I can stay in bed longer.

Mostly?


The lower commute means I spend less time traveling by train. The downside to this is that up until recently, most of my writing was done during this commute. With the exception of Incursion, the bulk of my books were written during my commute. Now that the commute has been cut in half, I need to find my time elsewhere.

Finding time


One mitigating factor is the fact that last year I stopped working full time. I work four days a week, with Wednesdays being my "writing days". I spent the first few months of these writing days revising the first five Unbound books, and working on their release, but once I got those out, I discovered how well a dedicated writing day works, easily setting new daily word count records.

Another mitigating factor is that by halving the commute, I have an extra hour of evening because I don't need to get up so early. One of the primary downsides I've found to writing is that you don't really start to pick up speed until you're thirty minutes in. During my commute, this meant I didn't really get going until I was nearly at my destination, and often when I wanted to write in the evening I only had an extra hour of full productivity before I needed to start worrying about going to bed.

All in all, there are plenty of opportune moments for me to write, so the primary obstacle to finding time to write is actually picking up my laptop and doing some writing. I've found the time to write, the problem is claiming that time, and I think I can pull it off.

So now what?



I'm currently in the process of revising Incursion so I can send it to my alpha readers. Once that is done I'll start outlining my next project (a post-apocalyptic YA novel), and writing it.

This is where it gets interesting. Before I started writing Incursion, I created an application that automatically tracks my writing speed and stores it in a database, and I have plenty of word count data to compare my writing speed before and after I switched offices. Once I get going on the new novel, I can easily compare writing effectiveness on a per-week basis, and see if my discipline is sufficient to keep my writing in order.

I'll keep you posted.