Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Writing Time: Snatches or Block?

I was reading another writer's blog yesterday and I was disheartened to read their thoughts that you can't get quality writing done in snatches of time.  Quality writing is achieved when you have a minimum two hour block of time per day to write.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing what they said or their thoughts on the subject, but that hasn't been my experience at all.  I can't recall ever having two hours per day of writing time.  Ever.  I have eight children and a life that intrudes upon my writing all the time.  All I have been able to do is write in snatches of time.

I have had this argument with writers before, that quality writing deserves quality time and if you're only writing in snatches then it's a hobby not a business.  I've heard those arguments.  And I argue against them because my perspective and my experience has been different.  I have published nine books since 2004 and I've done it only writing in snatches of time with some hours on weekends when my husband or older children have taken the younger ones for a time so I could write.  But that doesn't happen every day.  And yet I still look upon my writing as something I love, a way for me to share my talent, and yes, to earn money.

I'm not negating anyone's experience because I believe writing is personal.  Everyone's journey is different, everyone's way of doing things is different. But we all have one common goal---to share our stories with readers who will appreciate them.  If my situation requires that I prepare my scenes and dialogue while I'm changing messy diapers and playing Barbies and then writing as fast as I can while Barney is on, then so be it.  If you need two hours per day to write your book, then that's great, too.  But is it fair to say that someone's writing isn't quality unless they have written it in a block of time vs. snatches of time?

I don't think so.  What do you think?


Debra Erfert said...

You are totally different, Julie. Your writing "snatches" have purpose. You give yourself goals in which you achieve in your allotted block of time. I've seen how you "prepare" for an hour of sprinting, where you create an amazing word count while dopes like me eek out a thousand words, at best. And those one thousand words don't necessarily make a whole bucketful of sense.

I'm participating in a capstone study for Michael Young. For 14 days, I write exactly 1 (timed) hour. I can't prep for it anymore than think about what I want to write. This is proving very difficult for me, and aggravating, as well and non-producting. I want to write more, yet I have to stop when the timer goes off. By the time the next day comes, and it's time for my one hour, my train of thought has been derailed. That sucks! I miss not writing for two, three, five hours at a time. I miss not having my notes. I miss not being able to take my time and do research. My rough draft is embarrassingly simple-minded.

Can some people produce quality work in snatches and blocks of time. I'd say a resounding "yes!" siting you as an example. But for others, like me, I'm afraid the answer would be no.

mooderino said...

All that matters are the words on the page, not how long it took to get them there.


Gina said...

I am really tired of people writing these "authoritative" posts about how writing "must" be done.

OBVIOUSLY writing in snatches can be successful, because, HELLO, you are successful and you write in snatches. Just because it doesn't work for me, doesn't mean it's useless for you.



Jon Spell said...

2 hour block of time to write? I can't even imagine that. I'd have to take a day off work and then lock myself in my office (at work) to achieve that. Not gonna happen.

I agree with Mood. It's not like even with time like that, you're going to lay down a perfect line of bricks. Maybe you only place one brick, and it's not quite straight and the mortar's messy. You can come back and fix it later and make sure it fits cleanly with the next brick in line.

All blanket statements should be forbidden!

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Man, you guys make me feel so good and that I'm not crazy! Next time one of these arguments come up, I'm going to say, hey, talk to Debra, Jon, Mood and Gina, k? They'll tell you what's what. :)