Hanging on to Writing Time

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It seems no matter what I do, life has ways to pull me away from my writing. Social, family, and work obligations; unexpected happenings, good and bad, all seem to conspire to keep me from writing. So how do I hang on to writing and more importantly, how do I keep my head in a story when real life pulls me from any significant writing time?

One way is to simply make sure I take a few minutes to close my eyes and picture my characters. I try to imagine, if only for a minute, what they may be doing. I try to keep myself in the story periodically throughout the day and let my subconscious work on the details. I think keeping the feeling of the work alive is essential for me.

I work visually. I can see the characters and the setting. So when I can’t sit down and actually write, I work on that vision and concentrate on specific details so I can keep the feeling of the work alive until I get back to my desk. When I have the time to devote to serious writing, those details are all there and ready to pour onto the page.

I always carry some form of a notebook and one of my favorite pens. I’ve found any small, thin notebook handy; one that will fit in a purse or a pocket. That way if a phrase or image pops into my head, I’m ready to jot down a few words or a sentence to jog my memory later and I don’t lose it.

And finally, just writing every day, even if it’s just a sentence or two, somehow keeps the story alive. I find that if I let too many days go by it takes longer and longer to get back into the story I’m working on.

What tips do you to keep the writing going even when life conspires to steal us away from it?