Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – The Perfect Time to Write

"Mural" by Jackson Pollock

“Mural” by Jackson Pollock

There is no such thing as the “perfect time to write.”

I used to have a naive fantasy about arriving at a time in my life when I would be free to write without distraction or disturbance. A time during which I would somehow be magically relieved of all my responsibilities and obligations. No worries would crease my brow other than those having to do with the writing task at hand, no stress would cloud my creative vision.

Did I mention it was a naive fantasy?

It is also a foolish one.

Writing does not happen in a vacuum. Writing is a creative act and creative acts are messy and chaotic and filled with life. That’s the way they are supposed to be. The natural push and pull, give and take between the daily rounds of our days and our writing creates tension that brings a healthy sense of urgency to our work.

Your crazy, burdened, maddening life fuels your writing. Even the hard parts of life are sustenance for your creative self. In fact, the hard bits may be the most nourishing of all. Art is not created in spite of life; it is created because of it. Each experience you have, each emotion you feel, each dream and desire and hope and wonder – all of that is imprinted on your mind and in your heart until it becomes a part of you. And then, when you are writing, it all comes out again – pouring from your fingertips, transformed by time, perspective, and the magic of story. Like an alchemist, we turn our everyday experiences and thoughts into art.

Though you may feel like you’d be more productive/inspired/capable if you sequestered yourself away from the world, that is the last thing you need. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it?” I have experienced the truth of this saying over and over again. Often, it’s when I am at my busiest that I suddenly slip into a state of ease that makes me feel like I am dancing from one task to the next. Ideas come easily. Words flow. My timing is perfect. Everything clicks. Those crazy, creative days remind me that writing is not something that happens outside of or away from my life. Writing is at the core of my life, and every other part of my life feeds it.

There is no perfect time for writing because all your time is writing time. You don’t have to be at the keyboard or holding a pen to be writing. Living your life is part of your writing, too. It’s all one and the same. You do not need to escape your life in order to write, you need to embrace your life in order to write.

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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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55 thoughts on “Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – The Perfect Time to Write

  1. Thanks for this. I needed the reminder this morning. I have been lucky to have more time for writing recently and it is tempting to just hole up and live in one’s own mind. Sometimes less is more, sometimes, more is nourishing.

    • You’re welcome. Thanks for chiming in.

      There is a cycle of more and less, of living “out in the world” and then “in one’s own mind” … and ebb and flow. I think, however, that we are often fooled into thinking that we must have all or nothing; and that’s just not true.

      Revel in your writing time, and your living time. 🙂
      Enjoy!

  2. Pingback: Reminders to the writer in you. | .hamnishe.

  3. Pingback: Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – The Perfect Time to Write | charlottewebs

    • I know that funk well. 😉
      My world has experienced quite the upheaval lately, what with our moving and all, and my usual writing routine has been thrown WAY off. I think that’s why I’m pondering the way that “writing” is an activity that extends far beyond the page.

  4. I agree with you, there is no perfect time to write. I was travelling in a fully packed bus and then suddenly I got an idea to use in my book. I wrote till the bus reached my stop and while walking home also I was becoming an idea factory.

    • Isn’t it fun when inspiration strikes like that? Love it.
      Here’s to being an “idea factory” as often as possible. 😉

      • Yes,sometimes it is fun. But one time I was a t a wedding and an idea came to my mind. I struggled to write it on paper and was thinking that it would be unkind to leavevthe wedding.

  5. Wonderful. Thank you for writing all this.

    Just the other day, I wrote in comment to a post at The Green Study blog that “I have realised that the ability itself to be a better writer does not come as a given with more time. I am the same writer still.” I do personally believe that those pain and pleasure moments of everyday busy life have more power on the mind – the creative act as you call it. Well, but I am not a great or good writer, there are moments every now and then that I doubt myself – I used to think that lack of appreciation or recognition causes this fear in me – and I have experienced long breaks in writing – of months and years. Then I gradually came out of the fear, and decided that I will just keep writing, keep expressing what thoughts come to me – no matter if no one reads or likes my writing. So, I keep writing with whatever I have to share, and whenever I get the opportunity to do that.

    I will appreciate your thoughts on that doubt – and the flow of ideas and the motivation to continue writing.

    Thank you again.

  6. Your crazy, burdened, maddening life fuels your writing. Even the hard parts of life are sustenance for your creative self. In fact, the hard bits may be the most nourishing of all. Art is not created in spite of life; it is created because of it. Each experience you have, each emotion you feel, each dream and desire and hope and wonder – all of that is imprinted on your mind and in your heart until it becomes a part of you. And then, when you are writing, it all comes out again – pouring from your fingertips, transformed by time, perspective, and the magic of story. Like an alchemist, we turn our everyday experiences and thoughts into art.

    Agree, agree and agree.

    • I know exactly what you mean.
      If I had a dollar for each mug of tea that has gone cold because I was struck by an epiphany while making said tea, well … I could probably finance my first novel. 😉

      There is something almost magical about the ability of mundane menial tasks to set our creative minds free. This is why I hardly ever complain about emptying the dishwasher, folding the laundry, or washing the floors. It’s often while I’m engaged in such tasks that I stumble into unexpected moments of clarity about a story or an idea.

      Was it you who said last week, “Chop wood. Carry water.” Indeed. 😉

  7. This is really amazing. It gives me courage to write again and makes me feel light hearted. I was so burdened with a lot of things today, and this post made me realize how easy it is to write and just wash everything away. Beautifully written 🙂

    • And now, having read your comment, I feel lighthearted. Thank you for sharing that moment. I am so glad to have been a part of it. 🙂
      Happy writing!

    • It’s true that the masses seem to be moving towards more watching and listening (as in podcasts) than reading, but I still think there are many people out there who prefer the written word. Though the changes in medium can be daunting, I actually think that the explosion of digital media represents a wealth of new opportunities for writers. Many videos and podcasts still require a script. Conversely, many of the visual and audio mediums can be “translated” back into a written form and expanded upon for a different audience.

      Anyway, didn’t mean to ramble like that. 😉
      I’m glad you liked the post. Thanks for saying so.

  8. True; but there are a few things that help. For example silence, i don’t know about anybody else but I am not able to write with a slightest distracted mind. But that’s a whole other topic.. Nothing related to what you said here.
    Great post.

    • Ha! That’s more about the perfect “environment” for writing, right? 😉
      I am with you. I rarely write with any music or anything (though I have many writer friends who can’t write without their special playlist running). I find that true silence, however, is just as distracting. I prefer some ambient noise. The traffic going by on the street outside my house is nice, as is the hum and chatter of my local coffee shop hang out.

  9. I read this while substitute teaching, and yes, you are right: life is fodder for the plate. I watched teenage angst unfold in front of my eyes, captured snippets of dialogue, and nodded in agreement with what you wrote. As they did their assignments, I worked on my novel, despite the murmurs, we all worked and it was grand.

    • That sounds like a blissfully symbiotic arrangement. Nice! And good on you for multitasking. 😉

      Thanks for sharing those few moments of your day. Hope the writing went well!

  10. Hello Everyone, All of the comments were great and very inspiring. I am new to writing and blogging. I would like to give this a whirl and see where it takes me. To all the TEA lovers I say enjoy. If you are a coffee drinker, I say 1 or 2 sugars. This has become a big project for me, because I have also taken months and even years to even get started, due to procrastination or self doubt that I am a good enough writer. So again I say thank you for all of the encouragements. Take care and keep writing.

    • Thanks for coming by & congrats on starting writing and blogging. I hope that you enjoy the adventure for all its ups and downs, ins and outs. Happy writing!

    • It’s a valid question, but leaving your job does not mean that you will have to suffer a complete “lack of action.” Even if you move on from your current work, you might find other things to do, right? It’s just a matter of avoiding being cloistered. HOW you stay involved in the world doesn’t matter so much as the fact that you DO stay involved. 😉

  11. Hello, I read this and I feel that it is truth. Your life flows by your hands when you’re writing. I really like the post, I wish you luck.

    P.S. Sorry if I wrote bad anything, I’m not english speaker.

    • Thank you, Luis. And, no worries – you didn’t write anything “bad.”

      I’m glad you liked the post and wish you luck as well. 🙂

  12. Art is not created in spite of life; it is created because of it. Thanks for the reminder! Truly we can all create masterpieces of drama, or comic relief, or a touching story from the heart of each one of our days. Beauty lies in the sharing of our unique inner perspective of any SINGLE moment in a day. Love this post.

    • Thanks so much, Mel. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post, and I agree wholeheartedly that the beauty of our writing lies in sharing our unique perspective … even of a single, simple moment.

      Here’s to recognizing those moments when we find them. 🙂

    • And that is the whole point, isn’t it? 🙂 Thank you!

      PS – Love your pic … is that your kitty kissing your nose? Too sweet!

  13. My first writing class was a correspondence course that inspired me to go on to college. I remember thinking that I would be able to write a book when I “had the time”. I still get anxious when I think about ‘having the time’ but look at what I’m doing right now! It almost hurts to think that I have to steal a minute of my day to write a line in my journal but that one minute has turned out to be the outlet that keeps me going without regret. I totally understand you post! You are so, so right!

    • Hi, Kelly. Sometimes all we have is the one minute, but that the fact that we choose to spend that one minute putting the words down is all that really matters. 🙂

      Happy writing – even one word at a time.

  14. Pingback: Reminders to the writer in you | YCP Writing Center Blog

  15. Thank you for sharing this. I absolutely love your thoughts on writing. They offer guidance, hope and a sense of connection between writers who have never met in person. It’s often the craziest and busiest of days that I put the quickest and most meaningful words on a page.

    • Hi, Amelia.
      You’re so welcome. Thanks for making it more fun for me to share by being there on the other end to read it. 🙂

      I agree about crazy busy days sometimes yielding the best inspiration. It’s funny how our minds work sometimes – freezing up in what would seem to be the best of circumstances, and letting fly with brilliance when we least expect it.

      Have a great week & happy writing!

  16. Yes! Perfect ❤️ bizarrely, the more free time I have, the less I write. What’s that all about? I like to be squeezed for time, or like you say, the creative process needs light, colour and heaps going on.

    • Ha! You’re right, Sara.
      It’s kind of like that old adage about a woman’s purse – the bigger the purse, the more stuff you put in it. So, no matter how big the purse, it will always be full. Maybe our writing time is the reverse – the more we have, the less we put in? I don’t know – seems like there’s some kind of correlation, though. Purses. Words. You know. 😉

  17. Another incredibly helpful post. Well done. I must say, though, isn’t there something enchanting about putting down a wonderful book you’ve just finished reading, grabbing your favorite pen and notebook and heading outside into the cool, crisp, autumn air to let it fuel your inspiration to create your own beautiful art? Sometimes, there is a perfect time to write 🙂 Those “perfect times” certainly shouldn’t allow us to forego less obvious opportunities to write, however. Thanks again.

    • My sincere apologies for this seriously belated response. Just happened upon your comment while responding to recent ones from my “Top 10 of 2015” post.

      The scenario you describe is one of my favorite ways to spend an autumn afternoon. And now that it’s winter, I’m loving curling up on the couch with a good book and then with my journal and a brand new pen. 🙂

      Enjoy the season!

  18. Pingback: Your Favorite 2015 “Weekend Edition” and “Short and Sweet” Writing Posts | Live to Write – Write to Live

  19. What an excellent piece of advice! I have been trapped inside that foolish fantasy myself (probably still am a bit), which is why your words make perfect sense to me. Thank you! 🙂

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