Does this happen to you? You finally get some good, extended, quality time for writing, and you whip off thousands of words day after day in a frenzy of creativity only to have life slap you in the face and say, “Slow down. You have other things to do.”

Grrrr. How true it is!

Last week was writing heaven. Some many wonderful projects I was working on – mainly my fifth novel.

But now I’m back to work teaching, I’m directing drama, I had to re-write a script this evening, and I need to record another script.

I’m drowning in drama logistics up to my neck, and oh, did I mention that I’m working full-time.

The life of an indie author!

I can’t imagine how incredible it must be to be able to write full time, not that I dislike what I’m doing now. Far from it. But having the flexibility to craft story after story, spend extended time in research or fine-tuning one’s craft – that would be amazing.

But just because I don’t have extended time to sit down and write doesn’t mean I can have a productive writing day. There are always ways to be improving your craft, even without striking one key on the keyboard. Here’s a few things I like to do:

  • Watch people when walking out and about. You might find an interesting character trait.
  • Look at distances. I was sitting in a meeting today, studying what I could see of other people at certain distances. It’s quite a useful exercise in learning to write realistically about spatial elements. In your novel, if someone stands 10 feet away or 100 or more, what can be seen? When can you no longer see a smile? How might a shadow affect things?
  • Observe landscapes and scenery. Look at how the water ripples or the shards of light reflect unevenly off the tide.
  • Think in your mind, reworking scenes, re-thinking characters. You can decide quite a lot about your story before you even sit down to write. (but don’t neglect your work!)

So even if you don’t have time to write, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a productive writing session.

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