I find it useful to read case studies from people who have actually WRITTEN books (and possibly had them published and worked on a sequel). Theory is all very well, but hearing from someone who has actually done it? Much more inspiring. They also tend to be more passionate, less forgiving and much, much more practical.
Here are a bunch of articles from working writers who answer the second-most-asked question they hear. [1. The first, of course, being “where do you get your ideas?”]
Jon Scalzi is a speculative fiction writer, Hugo award winner and creative consultant on the SyFy Network’s Stargate: Universe. He wrote an energetic answer to the time question which includes this choice paragraph,
There are lots of things I think I’d like to do, and yet if I don’t actually make the time and effort to do them, they don’t get done. This is why I don’t have an acting career, or am a musician — because as much as I’d like those, I somehow stubbornly don’t actually do the things I need to do in order to achieve them. So I guess in really fundamental way I don’t want them, otherwise I’d make the time. C’est la vie.
Jackie Kessler has written 12 novels (not all of them published, but hey, that’s a lot of writing time) and refuses to apologize for taking time to write [link no longer valid].
Screenwriter John August shares his work-a-day experience of becoming a professional writer. (“my general point is that you need to actively clear time in your day to write, which means giving up something.”) It’s not sexy, but it worked.
Jane Friedman talks about what it takes to make time to write.
Chip Scanlan talks about writing in small chunks, lowering your standards, rejecting the Soup Nazi.
And to finish things off for today:
Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn (@creativepenn on Twitter) shares this personal story, which debunks the ‘if I only had time’ myth a bit:
I once decided that I needed time to write my book. I had some money from the sale of my house, took 3 months off and tried to write every day. It didn’t work. I didn’t have anything to show for it, and went back to work disheartened at my inability to write. It was 4 years until I actually decided to try again.
Then I wrote “How to Enjoy Your Job” in 9 months of evenings, weekends and days off while working fulltime.”.
You can find the time – you just need to re-prioritise!
[updated 3/3/2020 with corrected and new links]