How Do YOU Do It?

Hi from Elsh,

Checking in. I tried the ficly a day challenge, and I made it a month, but then college classwork took over all my spare hours outside of full-time teaching and raising two kids and remembering who my husband is.

I can’t wait to come back! (Spring break is around the corner.)

So, I am putting the question to you guys, tirelessly keeping this place alive. How do you make time, find time, steal time, or have time to continue listening to your muses and producing awesome snippets of fiction (and not-so fiction)??

Post your tips below.


  • Robert Quick

    I have a writer friend who runs his own blog that reminds me daily to write and occassionally inspires me. (He can be found at I guess I would call him and the other burgeoning writers I know, a kind of support group. Infinitely more important, I make it a priority. I’m not trying to say that I am better or that anyone isn’t doing their best but writing is THE most important thing in my life right now. If my mom was sick or something maybe that would change. But as it stands, I treat writing like the last cookie in the cookie jar and the life that wants to intrude I see as grubby hands trying to STEAL MY COOKIE! Many writers have talked about how writing is an antisocial behavior and that is never more true than when someone is making demands on my time when I’m trying to write. I will unleash the beast. Actually that’s not entirely true. The beast will unleash itself, and then I’ll have to come out later, hat in hand, like some kind of timid Dr. Jekyll, apologizing to all

  • Robert Quick

    . . . (con’t) the people that were in the blast radius of my wrath. It’s never pleasant and carries an uncomfortable-ness level that is equivalent to walking in on a group of your friends who were in the middle of talking about how much you suck as a person. However, despite that, it is still worth it (to me). If I can’t say no to going out for pizza when I know I need to write, then how will I ever finish anything? There is an idea floating around out there that it takes ten-thousand hours to master something. Daily ficlies are my way of working toward that goal. I will be a writer. Scratch that. I am a writer. I will be a good writer.

  • THX 0477

    I don’t, but that’s because I used to have that as my goal. The expectations, for me, took some of the fun out of it.

    Kudos to those who gave it a try and even more to those admirably succeeding.

  • shadowlight

    I’ve had a very rough time finding time to write, or when I do, to find the energy, although I keep my hand in by writing a shared story with my daughter which goes in fits and starts and I edit fairly regularly. I think writing a synopsis for my novel killed my desire to write new material for a while (The publishing house that accepted my book folded and I had to start looking again, this time with a synopsis.) I, too have family (& faith) commitments, a little pt job, and other creative interests (crocheting and knitting). Sometimes I just feel drained. And I know that it shouldn’t matter if anyone reads or comments on what I write, but it does, LOL. I am slowly trying to get myself back into writing more consistently by returning here and to a couple of other places. I need more hours in a day and more will power. :o)
    Good luck with your writing.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    I find that if I do other creative things, I use up my creativity some days. Sometimes it will breed more creativity, but other times it soaks it all up. It’s not that I choose to put things before writing, it’s that I have to. I had to set my last cookie up on the shelf and pace below it until I have completed my other quests and can reward myself by taking it down and eating it.

  • shadowlight

    Ditto for me. Yes, I can definitely relate to what you are saying. :o) I find that I need to prioritize. I also have to train myself not to waste time. There’s not enough of it to spare. :o) And now I need to get off the computer so that I can get some sleep. I find I’m not very creative if I’m tired. Good night and God bless…

  • Tad Winslow

    This is a cool topic to consider. I’d like to hear from everyone on here how they come up with stuff. For me it’s about expressing things better on the page than I can in the moment, in every day life. When I have time to sit and edit, and think deeper, work things out in words, it satisfies an urge to communicate my thoughts at a higher level than I ever could or can otherwise, without writing. I guess that’s why I enjoy it and that’s why it fascinates me and inspires me. Most of the time it’s a single phrase or a word, or a small idea that clicks, that I really like for whatever reason that spurs me to explore and build more sentences to. And when it works for me, especially if I work hard on it, it’s fulfilling. I guess it’s trial and error for me.

  • Tad Winslow

    I’m more like you, Robert Q. I can relate to that manic (is manic the right word?) state you describe when you’re writing, or when you feel like it’s time to go to work and write. It’s almost there, almost perfect, but more tinkering is needed, and it’s so important, and nothing is going to get in your way. I don’t have kids or real obligations beyond my job. However, the difference is, lately anyway, I make time for people even if I’m in a creative mood. Not too long ago I was just like how you described. I’ve noticed that you have a lot, emphasis on a lot, of energy for this stuff. It’s clearly your passion. How do you push through when your tank is empty? I find solace in a saying, “It’s about improving instead of proving anything.” That helps me write, even when it’s poor quality, because any writing is better than none, and I know in the big picture that it’s important to write when I’m uninspired— that I can learn something from it. I have similar aspirations as you. This is what I love too.

  • Robert Quick

    Tad, your first post encapsulates everything perfectly. In those moments where my brain is idle, sometimes things come to me. If I wait too long they’ll be gone, leaving behind nothing but a sense of loss. Sometimes it will be a phrase, a description, a character and I know that these are hooks, gifts to myself, keys to unlock doors yet found. They aren’t trees with low hanging fruit, rather they are seeds to be cultivated. A lot of times those ideas will merely be stepping stones to somewhere else—places I couldn’t imagine originally.

  • Robert Quick

    As far as inspirations and breaking through the emptiness, well, I find inspiration everywhere. I consume media of all types without stopping. I read (and re-read) books. I listen to podcasts. I watch TV with compelling stories that make me ask questions, and predict what will happen and why it is happening. I watch movies. I also find compelling analysis of these things (like why the Star Wars Prequels didn’t work, or Prometheus, or even why My Little Pony is layered with content, links to analysis to be provided upon request). With all of these ideas percolating in my brain, I am not afraid to riff on another’s ideas or wonder what I would do different, how I could make it better. The trick is to prove it. There are a ton of ideas out there and a ton of ways to look at them. Sure there are zombie stories (or any genre) but what story can YOU tell. What makes yours different or interesting? On the other hand it’s okay to tell the best story you can in a genre. Or you can bend or combine them. (Con’t)

  • Robert Quick

    I’m not sure if I’m making as much sense so I will move on.

    As far as writing on empty. Basically, the answer (as you have found) is to write anyway. It’s hard but ANYTHING is better than nothing. You can work on it later if you want to. There are two ways of thinking about it. Writing at the same time everyday conditions the brain the same way that working out conditions the body. When I sit down to write, my body recognizes it is writing time and just like working out eating the right foods (healthier) will help too. Let’s say that I can’t write everyday because- LIFE. Then my brain becomes like a manual car. If I can get enough momentum to get it going, the motor will kick in. So I write. Sometimes it is nonsense. Sometimes it is observations of the world around me. Sometimes it is a journal of thoughts and feelings and recent events. All of it helps in one way or another.

    We’re lucky here. Ficly give us so many tools to help us write. Challenges (super helpful imho), other ficlies, & other authors.

  • Princess Binky Lemontwist (LoA)

    I just steal time from other things I like doing. It comes down to how you really want to spend your time. Do you want the next five minutes spent on checking emails or surfing the web or writing?

    That’s how I do it. And if all else fails, I write right before I go to sleep.

  • Jim Stitzel

    My problem is that I’m usually trying to juggle too many creative projects at once. The downside is that I never have enough time to do them all, but the upside is that it generally keeps things fresh because I can switch from project to project and do different kinds of creative things. (Also, hence the reason why I haven’t written anything here in quite a while again — focusing on a couple of other projects right now.)

  • HSAR

    I just leave it to simmer. I still have the same creative flashes when I’m not writing, they’re just not quite as intense; I still save bits of them that I really like in a not-so-little text file for later reference. When I start writing again, I just pick up bits from that note file and assemble them into something that I like.

    That said, I haven’t really stretched my writing skills with any long-form prose for a while, and I really should.

  • Jae

    Keep them everywhere. When an idea comes, it flutters like a butterfly. Those notebooks are my nets. I always have one close at hand, and a good pen.
    My two favorite notebooks are interconnected.
    One is a pocket sized moleskine (size over quality) which I call my Idea book, or recently my Rule book. It is filled with butterflies because I was ready to catch them. Names, places, phrases and ideas all go there.
    The other is my Writing Journal. It’s larger and thicker to accommodate the greater volumes of text as I study the details of the butterflies in my collection. Each idea – or “rule” – becomes the heading of several pages I call “unpacking,” which is where I write everything down about what the idea is, means, and how it may connect to pre-existing stories.

  • Robert Quick


  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Oh I printed that out last year and posted it at my desk. :) I read her blog and follow her on facebook.

  • Robert Quick

    I didn’t know where it came from. I’d like links if whenever you can post them or note me, please!

  • Nancy

    I just recently re-examined my dedication to myself (non-existent) based on the fact that I rarely write anymore and I realized something: I used to write every day when I got home from work (school… I was a teacher) and then when I moved to a new place I started getting up extra early to write. Now when I wake up I check FaceBook and my personal email and get pulled into the FB spiral of reading all the news that calls to me, etc. So, starting on Monday I simply woke up and made my cup of coffee and wrote. And FB was still there when I looked later. But I was also happy because I wrote. Today, too. I have a routine I go through… two different writing exercises. Only two days but two days of success!

  • BiC

    Dear Friends,

    Being a time traveler, I find it very difficult to find the “right” time to write. I was writing every day last week, except Monday (my day to recoup after traveling). Just yesterday I realized that I had been writing in the past. (No wonder I wasn’t getting any comments.:)

    So June 1st marked a new day for me; history in the making: I traveled on a Saturday! Sure, traffic was bad, but I made it in one piece nonetheless. So now that I’m here in the “present”, I’ll stick around a while and write a bit.

    By the way, I’ve read some of your writings when I was in the future… You guys are awesome!

    Mr. Bic

    (‘persona’ – click on “Community Standards” at the bottom of this page.)