|Susan Diane Johnson|
Keeping the Spark Alive During the Work Week
By Susan Diane Johnson
Many writers work full-time at another job, including myself. I wish I had words of wisdom regarding time-management, but I don’t. I need those words myself. What I hope I can speak to is creativity and how not to lose it.
A day job can kill your creativity, even if it’s one you love. And I dearly love my job. But because of the kind of work I do, it emotionally exhausts me to the point that I don’t always feel like writing when I get home. What I’ve learned the hard way is that one day away from your manuscript turns to two days and then ten. Before you even realize it, you’ve lost the spark that fueled your imagination and it becomes a chore to write.
Writers must write every day, even if it’s just a sentence, a paragraph, or an idea.
The most important thing I’ve learned is to not put off writing down ideas as they come to me. I might think I’m going to remember the brilliant scene I dreamed while I was sleeping, or the sparkling conversation between my characters that I thought of while I was in the shower, but I won’t unless I write it down as soon as I can. I’ve lost more ideas by ignoring them, so I’ve learned to keep a writing tablet by my bed for just this purpose.
Obviously I can’t write while I’m working. So how do I handle it when I have some burning idea during the work day? That same writing tablet I wrote on when I woke up or after I showered, goes everywhere with me. The very instant I get a break, I jot down enough of the idea that I won’t lose it.
I’ve become a thought collector. The act of putting the ideas on paper keeps my thoughts alive during the day and helps me look forward to the time I can put everything into my document. It helps keep the spark growing so my manuscript can stay alive.
And if I can’t type them in until the weekend, I’ve usually collected enough thoughts during the week so when I sit down at the computer I have enough ideas to keep that old nemesis called writer’s block as far away from me as possible.
If you lose enthusiasm for your manuscript during the week, I encourage you to make it a habit to become a thought collector.
Susan Diane Johnson is the author of two contemporary novels, True North, and No Substitute. Her first historical novel, Sweet Mountain Music, will be available in May. Susan is a regular contributor to the Inkwell Inspirations blog, a group blog by Christian woman and for Christian women. She is also member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and National Cancer Registrars’ Association. During the day, Susan is a cancer registrar at her local hospital and lives in northwest Washington with her husband and their naughty little cat. They are the parents of a wonderful grown son, and hope to one day become grandparents. You can contact Susan through her website (below), or at firstname.lastname@example.org.