Hi, friends! Happy Holidays! I hope you have been enjoying the
tantrums sights and tears sounds of the season. To get into the holiday spirit, we went to the Holiday Sing-Along at the Walt Disney Concert Hall last weekend. We thought it would be just right for the little music patrons in our family, and it proved to be an exciting time.
And a really good way to finally see the coolest building in Los Angeles.
During the concert the MC joked a little bit about the time-crunch of the holidays. Logistically there are only so many hours to get things done. The clock is ticking, Santa notwithstanding. Hustle and bustle. How much cheer can you stuff into the last weekend before Christmas? Ready, set, go!
And my mind, which was split between desperate petitions to the Universe that we make it through the concert without someone launching himself off the balcony and the incredible awesomeness of the concert hall, picked up the MC’s thread and chased it down the hall to this question of time.
“Where do you find time to write?”
It’s my most frequently asked question. But it is the wrong question. The right questions is this:
“Do you have an audience?”
Because for me, things only happen when I have an audience.
Case in point, I play the violin. Learned when I was little. Picked it back up as an adult. It was as an adult that I made the most gains in my music. I had an audience I trusted and respected in my teacher. I wanted to impress Mr. Jerry. I wanted to prove that I was worth his time and attention. I couldn’t wait to hear his feedback. So I practiced. I got better. Soon I found myself playing for larger audiences (community orchestras are where it’s at, y’all) and having so. much. fun.
I spent (seven) years working on my draft of THE STORYTELLER. And yes, I had some short stories published and dabbled with other WIPs in that time. Mostly, I wrote a lot of words that sat in a knotted tangle of files and folders on my desktop doing nothing. Until I had an audience.
My first audience: My dear friend, Candi was willing to look at some chapters and give me feedback. So I edited and polished what I had and sent it to her one chapter at a time. From her comments and encouragement, I found my sea-legs. My second audience: my friend, Arianne, had powered through her own novel, and I plowed through the last chapters of my draft because she inspired me and because she had really helpful comments. I wanted her to read my book. I couldn’t wait for her feedback. Between my two audiences I wrapped up a complete draft of my book in the first two months of this year. I cross my heart that if you had told me last Christmas that I’d have finished my book in February of 2017, I would have laughed at you, called y’all crazy, and ugly cried.
Chances are, if you are here on this website, you too are making the journey through the aspiring/querying/debuting author phase. And chances are you are struggling with having mountains of laundry, deadlines at the day-job, fun holiday chores, parenting overload, and NO FREE TIME. Chances are, you have only enough energy left to park it on the couch at the end of the day and nap until bedtime. You ain’t got time to write. You ain’t got time to do the dishes. You are the time poorest person in the world.
BUT somehow when you have an audience, you can plow through a draft and write some of your best stuff at 11PM at night. Somehow you pinch a scene or two out while the sauce is simmering on the stove. Somehow you find the words coming while you are walking your kiddos to school. SOMEHOW you finish writing a book that you started (seven) years ago.
I didn’t need dedicated free time. I needed an audience. Things happened fast when I found one. Things could happen fast for you when you find those alpha and beta readers. Why not try it, and see?