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  1. #16
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    Perhaps it is the fear of forgetting exactly what it is I want to research at this specific spot that makes me look it up during my writing time?
    But first draft it doesn't have to be right (I'm a fair writer - but I'm better at rewrites! first get it written, THEN get it right) XXnote XX works because it;s easy to do a find for XX and get all your notes later.

    It's a form of procrastination. If you recognise it as such, and plan/schedule for it (because you do need to research) then you should be okay

    Really, I often think that a writer's main strength is a steely resolve to just write the damn book. Especially on the first draft.

    If the research is plot changing, do it first. If not, do it after and tweak. But research time IS NOT writing time.

    Self discipline (at which I am crap and so need my Old Man to restrict my internet etc) is required. If it's just a hobby, something fun to fill the time because you like it, that's different. But if you plan you do this as a profession (or even to do it as a serious hobby)...you need to treat it as such.

  2. #17
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    I can't stand not having a character name though
    Just name a character Bob or Sue. Come up with simple names for characters until to do come up with a 'good' name. This helps you move past the stress of naming a character until the first draft is done. Same with cities, planets, etc. Find something simple, a friend's last name, home town, whatever to name something and make a note on that notepad about what you need to rename once you've gotten through your draft.

    This helps with productivity like you can't imagine.

  3. #18
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    If the research is plot changing
    If the research is plot changing, in my opinion, it should have been done before setting out down the path the story is taking. I realize that stories can change course during writing, but the core of the story should already be in place before starting (whether you outline or not) and you should know how to get from point A to point B.

    That's just my opinion.

    Again, this is something you can plan for. If you've set aside time for writing, you can easily take one of those writing sessions to perform the research you need if, as was noted, it's going to change the course of events in your story. If it's just research, leave that for the re-writes.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissmequick View Post
    ???

    All (okay, almost all!) writers have other lives too, the trick is time management.


    Anyway, I hear you. I work, have two kids and a husband I like to see occasionally.

    Like anything else you want to do, you have to make the time for it. A lot will depend on how old your kids are - when mine were younger I'd write in the evenings after they were asleep. The husband was an easy matter - 'Dear husband, please bog off to the pub.' He rarely refuses....

    Now I work weird shifts, so I write when I can - often while the kids are at school, or late at night. Some writers I know get up an hour early and write before they go to work. An understanding other half is essential, but if they see it as any other hobby (it is a hobby to start with, really, or it was to me) well you should be able to arrange something. My husband for instance spends some time with the kids, taking them out on a Saturday so I can get some work done. Good for them and good for me. I gave up watching telly, and a few other things as I became more serious.

    You don't need to have hours and hours together in a block - you just need to be able to write regularly and, as important, thinking time while you aren't writing (I do this at work hehe). I know a lady who wrote a book pretty much entirely in her lunch half-hour.
    Thank you for the feedback, this is great. Interesting that you mention sending your husband off to the pub, I think that's one of my major challenges as my wife usually wants us to spend some time together relaxing during the week, whether it is to watch a movie or a TV series, but she usually doesn't go out during the week

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HellsGuardian View Post
    The problem for me isn't so much that I can lock myself in a room and type my story it's the fact that the internet is there always tempting me. And I do need it for on the fly research but sometimes I just end up "researching" for hours on end.
    Bah! I've such a short attention span.
    As others have said, there are tools out there that will disable your net protocol stack so you have no access to the outside world for a certain amount of time. I'm not sure I remember the name but there is one for MAC OS that I researched one time (although I don't use it).

  6. #21
    Locked in the Golden Cage HellsGuardian's Avatar
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    While some of these ideas (like researching later on, noting things to research etc.) sound good to me it'll break my writing flow if I don't get the information right at that moment. However they've given me an idea: Set aside a small amount of time for research (1-2 minutes) with an alarm so I don't get sidetracked. I doubt it'll work for everyone but I've found it works for me.

  7. #22
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    Smile Great ideas...and great people!

    Thanks everyone for the replies, all of these ides are great. It's very uplifting to hear that other people have experienced the same time management issue. I remember the simpler days when time was more abundant and I would be able to dedicate more time to reading, even though I was not interested in writing an actual story line back then.

    Now of course, when I do want to dedicate myself to it, between my daughter, my wife, and the extended family the time is nonexistent. I've already limited many of my hobbies (pc gaming, football, basketball) but I refuse to give up reading because I believe that's crucial to a writer's success.

    So, to start out I'm going to implement a one hour schedule and stick to it, at least for Monday to Thursday. But more importantly, I need to get my family to respect the schedule, because sometimes when I go on my writing blocks I believe they feel they are being excluded and are not sure why so they tend to interrupt. I've mentioned to them that I want to write a book, but I haven't given them all the details about it (mostly, cause I haven't ironed out all the details).

    Speaking of details, does anyone know of any tools for timeline development? I'm using Scrivener for the manuscript, but I feel that its important to organize the events that occur through time somewhere.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulfen View Post
    It's definitely a balancing act. Like some others here, I'm married, two school-age active kids, and work in an IT field that can dictate longer hours. If you want to write, and it's a priority, you have to make that time available. I learned this the hard way; I told myself for years that I'd have plenty of time to get it done. "Ok, not this week, but next week for sure!"

    I can tell you how that worked out.

    I'm 41-years-old now, and I finally got it. If you want to do it, you have to make the time. If it means staying up late, or turning the TV off, or getting up earlier, or not watching football, then so be it.

    Now, I generally stay up later, and use an hour or two after the kids are in bed. I lock myself in my room, or use my laptop in the TV room, but faced away from the TV, with a headset playing soundtrack music that helps to get me in whatever mood I need to be in to write that particular scene, or chapter.

    Wife's not always so understanding, but it's my dream to write, and succeed at it, so she deals with it.
    Thanks for sharing. Interestingly enough, I'm in a similar situation, because I feel the best time for me is after my daughter goes to bed,around 9 or so. However my wife usually like to watch some TV together and if I depart and go to the office to work on something, I'll get some one liner later on in the week about how I didn't spend time with her. It's rough, cause we both are working parents, so I can understand.

    That being said, even though my writing was more of a hobby, if I'm going to take it to the next level I do need to have a schedule and more importantly have her agree to that schedule.

    And of course plenty of coffee will help, since I start getting sleepy around 11pm...hah!

  9. #24
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    Writing is a struggle and there are always sacrifices that need to be made. I usually write next to my favorite daughter while she does homework and my wife will watch TV. It does distract from time to time but we always make sure we set aside family time to do things together. It's not always easy to do.

    As for a timeline... excel works, even the open office version. I usually have a basic outline and fill in events and details as I need them to keep track of what is happening when and where. I also use scrivener and I just create a file inside my document call outline and the timeline is in there.

  10. #25
    Greymane Wilson Geiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AARoque View Post
    Speaking of details, does anyone know of any tools for timeline development? I'm using Scrivener for the manuscript, but I feel that its important to organize the events that occur through time somewhere.
    I might suggest yWriter. It lets you arrange scenes and chapters, so that might work for you.

  11. #26
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    yWriter is ok. I tried it. Didn't care for it (that's just me)

    Scrivener is $40. It does pretty much everything yWriter does and, I feel, a whole lot more.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I like to write up a scene list. I can create a different file under a folder for each scene. Then I start writing. If things happen in a different order, I just drag, drop, and the order is now correct.

    I also write very short chapters (no more than 2500 words) and each could be considered a scene. Scrivener allows you to create a 'chapter' folder and you can put each scene in its own file under the chapter. This works out well because now you can drag a scene from one chapter, drop it into another, and bam. Done.

    It's also free to try (so is yWriter). Spend a little time with each and see which you prefer. They'll both take time getting used to. That's just the nature of the beast.

  12. #27
    Registered User Eddy Gemmell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HellsGuardian View Post
    The problem for me isn't so much that I can lock myself in a room and type my story it's the fact that the internet is there always tempting me. And I do need it for on the fly research but sometimes I just end up "researching" for hours on end.
    Bah! I've such a short attention span.
    I would suggest ignoring the research unless you obsolutely need it. Write the story and fill in/check the details later. If you're writing some techno-thriller where the tech is intergral to the plot then you might need to plan in advance but in that case - plan then write. Planning might take a while though but you seem to enjoy it!

  13. #28
    Locked in the Golden Cage HellsGuardian's Avatar
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    I know, I'm my own worst enemy. I'll give it another try and see how I go.

  14. #29
    Registered User Eddy Gemmell's Avatar
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    It really is a question of how you 'write.'

    A lot of writing time is actually thinking time, planning time, etc. Worldbuilding rarely if ever drips from the pen.

    You may be one of the lucky people who just 'gets' writing and can write great stuff without any planning. I can't. I am the world's biggest planner! But when I am at the writing stage, I write and do nothing else. If I spot something that doesn't quite work or something I need to re-think or something techincal, I make a note and bypass it and move on.

    Just like good old 'blood and guts' Patton in '44, press on, you can leave some pockets of resistence behind for mopping up later on.

    Good luck!

  15. #30
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Last night I sat down for about 1 hour of writing time. I just moved into a new place and don't have internet yet so that was helpful. I put aside my phone, opened the laptop and the story and started working. I got to a point where I needed to know the proper term for something. Instead of using my phone to look it up I just opened a new document, took note of the question and where in the text of my story the answer needs to go. Then I highlited that particular spot in the story. Done deal and I was able to move on. A few minutes later I had another question regarding the same item. I noted that question under the first in the new document, cited it, highlited the story text, and was good go. Doing this freed me up from feeling like I would forget the question or where exactly the answer needed to go. Moral of the story, writing down questions to research at a later time is really useful!

    Sometimes you just don't think of a thing until someone else points it out to you.

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