I’ve discovered unique benefits to having huge swaths of time to write (weekends, holidays, vacation) versus quick I’ve-only-got-twenty-minutes to write. If a story doesn’t evoke some kind of emotion from me, it’s definitely not going to reasonate with the reader. That means I have to get into the heads of my characters and feel whatever they’re feeling. And I simply can’t dig that deep with just a few moments here and there. What I can do in a short period of time is allow myself to pour words and sentences all over the blank page. Those are the times I can “allow” my internal critic to take a hike. Sure a lot of it ends up being cut, but the exercise inevitably moves the story forward. It forces me away from places where I’ve become too comfortable.
Now I’m looking forward to a long vacation from work so that I can buckle-down and really get into the meat of my novel. I’m hoping this 3-week stretch will allow me the time to reconnect with the characters, to churn up the well so-to-speak. The fact that the process causes me a lot of personal anxiety is good for the story I suppose. Not so good for me. It’s necessary because it creates something real, something the readers can latch on to.
There’s really no “bad” time to write. As I mentioned above, having just minutes forces me to plow ahead and that’s absolutely necessary to unleash new ideas. But I’ve had a lot of minutes lately. Now it’s time to bravely dig deep. I may need to take up smoking.
Wherever you are with your writing, just remember that every minute matters. The story will take shape; the characters will evolve. You just have to make it happen with whatever piece of time you have.