Monday, October 17, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Push it to the limit! Come on! Pump it! Pump it!

So if you're at the gym listening to the aerobics instructor say this in a shrill cheerleader cry that grates to the marrow of your bone, it may not seem as inspiring.  If I were in the class, I'd probably be in mid-grapevine over the stair-step thinking, "AARRGGH!  You're a 5-kid having freak of nature with a perfect body!!!"  Only spite would keep me going until the end.

But in writing, this cheer, this call is very needed.  As writers, we have to hone in on maximizing.  We do it a lot without really thinking about it.  When we do a rewrite after someone gives us a suggestion, we're working to increase our story's appeal, trying to make it the greatest we can possibly make it.  With so many things that are not within our control, it's nice to know that maximizing is something within our grasp.

Critique partners and beta readers are great.  Doing writing exercises to practice your writing chops is another thing.  I recently took advantage of an exercise at Unicorn Bell.  It was about senses and the use of them to pull your reader in.  Here is my assignment response.  And the moderators provided some helpful comments as well.  Following this blog has been an excellent idea.

Maximizing your time is especially necessary, since many of us aspiring writers also have full time jobs and families that make demands on us.  We must learn to use our opportunities when they arise.  I've visited a few blogs where parents have mentioned using waiting periods to do some writing, like waiting at a sports practice or going early and waiting to pick up the kiddo(s) from school.

What's something you currently do or think you can try to maximize your writing path?  Ideas are welcome.  Someone may check out a comment and realize it's a helpful tip for them in their pursuit of publishness.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great post. It's so encouraging. And you're right. We need to focus on what we can control.

I use waiting time in the car to read blogs and to read. Also when I'm at swim meets. It's too loud for me to write. But reading blogs and reading are part of my job as a writer I can use this dead time for.

Miranda Hardy said...

This may sound corny, but I have a journal that I use to make daily writing goals to follow, whether I'm writing, outlining or researching. I also add a writing related quote everyday. It motivates me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just be prepared to write in short bursts here and there. But mostly, be willing to just stop for thirty minutes and write something. If we really want to do it, we'll find time.

Tara Tyler said...

i wish i had a plan, but my life is so crazy! and i thnk, things will slow down after football. but then its holidays & shopping & travel...
it never ends, so i steal my 5 min here and there for blogging, and take some mommy time chunks to write, usually after putting them to bed =)

Julia Hones said...

I agree with your post. I take every opportunity I have to write. The thoughts stay with me and my mind keeps working when I am doing things like walking or driving. It helps to expand my ideas and create new thoughts. Because once I sit down to write, the process keeps going later on. And I go back to it.

Angela Brown said...

@ Natalie - that is a really helpful testimony. It's great having that for others to reference.

@ Miranda - What an awesome thing! You have your own daily "Minder", in a way, to keep you going and on target for your goals.

@ Alex - you are so on point. I think that's what is so awesome about maximizing. It really is all up to you.

@ Tara - Most of my own writing and blog post preperation happens at night after I've put the chipmunk to bed.

@ Julia - Really good point. Just a matter of making sure to use that time to the max so you write "smarter" not "harder".

E.R. King said...

It's tough to squeeze writing in, but have your ideas ready to flow and write them out whenever you can. Flexibility is the key!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Great topic, Angela. I squeeze writing in whenever and wherever I can. I carry a notepad and a pen with me to my son's karate practice, or when I take the kids to a playground, or to a doctor's office etc. During summer I would always bring my writing to the beach. That type of multitasking feels like a second nature to me. And I really like it :-)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Angela!

Any waiting time I have is usually spent in reading. Generally there's too much other stuff going on focus on writing but I've been known to jot down notes.

My big thing is getting up early to write, even with all the wee beasties in school for a few hours each afternoon, that morning time is golden for me.

Angela Brown said...

@ E.R. - Flexibility! I wonder if there is yoga for the human time management table? Because I sure could use it :-)

@ Angela - Keeping a pen and pad. Sounds like a great way to keep up with spur-of-the-moment story ideas as well

@ Raelyn - I really need to consider that getting up early idea. I'm usually burning the midnight oil.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great post and so true - we've got to do what's in our control and grab time where we can get it! I use running/walking time to hash out thoughts - a lot of writing really happens in your head before you ever write a word, or in between writing when you're trying to figure out what happens next or where you've gone wrong or what you could say better. Sometimes I get 10 feet out the door and already have a better way of saying something!

Angela Brown said...

Wow Susanna, great idea. Exercising body and mind to get the ticker ticking.

Alleged Author said...

I agree that maximizing time is essential to keeping a healthy body and mind for writing!

Maria Zannini said...

I read, but not in the genre I'm currently writing.

If I want to sharpen my plotting, I read mystery.

character relationships--romance
world building---historical
description--the classics

Angela Brown said...

@ Alleged - Maximize!!!

@ Maria - That is very different. Like giving the mind various foods for growth.

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