Writing in Real Life [Second Edition]

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In the first edition of “Writing in Real Life,” we talked about finding/making the time to write. I shared about how I write for at least 30 minutes at the start of every week day.

But sometimes having or even making the time to write isn’t the problem. Sometimes the problem is knowing what to write.

I am by no means an expert on coming up with material for blog posts, books, essays, etc. There really is no magic formula…at least, not that I’ve found. Most of the time it comes in waves – I’ll have a whole bunch of blog post ideas throw themselves in my lap at one time. Or sometimes an idea comes in a flash of brilliance, truly like a light bulb turning on.

But, most of the time, not so much. It’s like digging for gold in a sandbox.

So, what to do then? When you have the time to write, but you don’t know what to write?

Take from real life.

Don’t look too far or you’ll miss it. Chances are fresh inspiration is as close as the pen in your hand or the keyboard under your fingers. What you think is ordinary may be extraordinary to your readers. Drawing writing material from real life interjects humanity into your words. It gives breath to what might otherwise be a one-dimensional process.

Some of my best writing happens when the topic I choose is based on my life or experience.

What about you? How do you decide what to write about?

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Writing in Real Life

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Even for those of us who love to write, who were born to write…writing is a choice. A daily choice that really just boils down to doing it. 

But real life is messy and busy and a thousand other things. Some people may have the luxury of eight solid hours every day with nothing to do but write. But that’s not most of us.

Most of us have full-time jobs.

Most of us have other responsibilities.

Most of us have another life.

In less than a month I am due with my first baby. A little boy. My husband and I are thrilled! Being a wife and a mother will be my full-time job, my responsibility and my “other” life.

I still love to write and I know I was born to write. That won’t change. But how I fit writing into my life will. That’s just reality.

Here’s a simple technique that’s been working for me: I write for 30 minutes before I get out of bed in the morning. That’s it. Nothing super fancy. Just 30 minutes before the rush of the day begins.

I get more writing accomplished in those 30, focused minutes than I ever thought possible.

I make daily, consistent progress on my writing goals.

I feel so accomplished when I’m finished – like I’m on top of the world and the day can throw whatever it wants at me.

Because I did what I love and what I was born to do. That’s writing in real life for me. I don’t have hours upon hours to devote to my craft. BUT I do have a consistent block of focused time each day. My technique may need to be tweaked a little once the baby comes, but the concept will stay the same.

How do you fit writing into your life – right now, where you are?