How Much Time Should You Spend Writing?

The amount of time we spend writing is essential if we yearn to be writers. How much is enough?

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There’s no hard and fast rule but it makes sense to treat it like everyone else treats their career ambitions.

But how can we devote 40 hours a week to writing when we already have a full time job?

Ask yourself this question another way: How do parents find the time to properly raise their children when they work full time?  We could ask the same question of any artist, musician, or college student.

We all have responsibilities to tend to.

You are not alone.

What all the parents, artists, musicians, college students, and aspiring writers have in common is a desire to do something big with their lives which transcends their day jobs.

So they find a way.

They sacrifice television, video games, and sleep. I work 55+ hours a week as an accountant, so here is what has helped me:

1. I often write snippets of stories, poems, and blog posts on my smart phone during lunch.
2. I take two 10-minute breaks a day. I use this time to interact on social media.
3. Being a writer means being a reader, so I let my E-reader read aloud to me during my commute.
4. I have a few favorite TV shows, so I watch only those shows. TV sucks up  time that I should spend writing.
5. Being organized helps with time management. I make grocery lists. I ensure that I spend minimal time on nonessential things (I can speed wash dishes!).
6. I fill the vessel. This means getting enough sleep, eating right, and reading inspirational works.

Writers are deep thinkers, so let yourself relax and daydream. It’s a good thing. Anxiety and stress can get in the way. Take care of your problems and love the people in your life…yes, you want to write but you have to take care of yourself and relish the time you have with your loved ones, too.

What has worked for you? Please comment below.

Keep writing and keep sharing! Cronin Detzz

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DISGUISING YOUR CHARACTERS

How can a writer craft a character who is great at disguises? Spies and villains and accidental heroes often need this capability.

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Cronin 35 years ago

Im starting to believe that certain body types have an advantage.  My son and I have both found that we have a kind of ageless, raceless appearance. To illustrate:
*I was washing my car when some fund-raising  candy-selling tweens walked by. “Hi!” harkened the eldest. “Is your mom home?” I was 38 years old at the time. Yes, I bought some chocolate from her!
* “Ma’am, can you help me?” I was startled because it was the first time I was addressed as ma’am. I was 16. Don’t tell my parents, but it was easy for me to get served at pubs!
*I’ve been asked, “donde esta el banjo?” several times. I think I surprise them when I answer in my Chicago twang, “I think it’s in the back, near lay aways.”
* Speaking of my black hair, I’ve also been asked what tribe I’m from when I attend pow wows. I also am asked if I am Italian American. To set the record straight, it’s black-haired Irish; both sides of my family are British. Dad was born in Liverpool and I’ve traced lineage to Ireland, Scotland, and England.

And saving the best (or worst?) for last:
*When I was a newly-hatched adult, my husband and I went to Toronto. I had a quick smoke while he went inside a convenient store. It was a bit chilly, but i was fine in my jeans and black jacket. A balding man with a paunchy gut smiled and said, “Hi, how are you?”

Friendly Canadian, I thought. “Fine. You?”

“How much?”

It took me a second. Then I burst out laughing. “No!” I finally said, after I caught my breath. “Waiting for my husband.” I pointed behind me.

Therefore, if your spy/sleuth/villain has black hair and a hard-to-place age, the character may have an easier time blending in America. Other good traits may include malleable accents and an androgenous body shape.

And if you really want to know, I’ll tell you, I am just shy of 50 years old. But I’m saving divulging my weight for carnies, who always get that wrong, too! I make a quick 5 bucks at those weight guessing games.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

CHARACTER FLAWS: HITLER

Just for fun, Hitler’s ten dumbest mistakes.

 

I am doing research on military blunders and happened to find this informative analysis on one of the great villains in recent history.

It seems to me like his greatest blunders appear as symptoms, like his mistakes on the Russian front, but the real disease was his zealous patriotism and psychotic hubris. He felt that when his countrymen saw destruction, their morale improved.

Villains are fascinating. What do you see as Hitler’s greatest character flaws? I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

 

DO YOU HAVE A SACRED WRITING SPACE?

Happy St. Brigid’s day!  Do you have a special space where you do your best writing? Where is it?

St Bridgit-Cronin Detzz

If you do not have a sacred space, why don’t you?

I  have several crosses in my home, crudely made by my own hands, as a tribute to St. Brigid.  She is also known as St. Bridget, St. Brigid or Brigit of Kildare.

She is a fascinating Irish saint, revered especially for childbirth, smiths, AND POETS.  As a poet with Irish-American heritage, I feel a special bond with her (my great-great grandmother’s name was Bridget O’Flaherty of Limerick, Ireland).  When I feel any kind of writer’s block or have a special need to search for just the right word, I glance at one of the crosses and think of her creative blessings and thank her.

St. Brigid was a nun.  Some say that she helped pregnant women, thus one of her blessings is in childbirth.  In Ireland, there are more crosses dedicated to her than to any other saint.

If I am working on a book then I write at my desk or in my easy chair.  If I am writing a poem, I prefer to sit at the kitchen table where I can lovingly absorb my family’s energy and gaze at St. Brigid’s crosses.  Writers write anywhere – I’ve been known to scratch poems onto a checkbook because it was the only scrap of paper on me – but having a sacred writing space seems to make the energy flow more easily.

If you don’t already have a special writing area, consider creating your own little sanctuary.  Fill it with your favorite pens and pencils, organize your writings into different files, and display photos and creative artwork nearby.  Put a comfy pillow on your chair.  If you want to make a cross for St. Brigid, you can find instructions at the following link:  http://fisheaters.com/stbrigidscross.html

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

A WRITING PROMPT FOR THOSE WHO DON’T LIKE WRITING PROMPTS

“Dad, you had to CARRY your cell phone in your pocket?!”

Rotary Phone Cronin Detzz

My teenage son and I recently pondered what the future holds. What will persist and what will perish? What will his children and his grandchildren find hilarious about the previous generations?

Just in my son’s short lifetime, he has never:
– Used a rotary phone or heard a busy signal
– Saved a file to a floppy disk
– Seen the fuzzy gray static of a TV station off the air
– Turned a knob to change a TV station
– Rolled down a car window with a crank handle

Here is a list of possible questions his children might ask:
– You had to carry your cell phone in your pocket?
– You had to pump noxious gas into your car?
– Grandma wrote checks, and her signature was as good as the amount of money she had? How was that legal? It was like she was printing her own money.
– There were places where your phone would not have a connection?
– What’s a Twinkie?

Here is another list, much more insidious:
– You could carry a little book that allowed you to leave the country?
– There were places in the wild that you could go and no one could find you?
– You could refuse to consent to a search from a police officer?
– You weren’t required to join the military?
– You could make jokes and draw cartoons about the president?
– You could own guns?
– You could vote?

These are the very questions that fantasy writers attempt to solve. I have a deep respect for any novelist who ponders the future of technology and the direction of our political and socio-economic progress. Ask the younger generation what they believe the future will hold and you will have a great writing prompt.  Answers to these questions could make a solid foundation for a fantastic book.

What do you think the future generations will find funny about our way of life? Leave a comment!

Keep writing & keep sharing – Cronin Detzz

Poem: Be Here Now

BE HERE NOW
In the now,
time drips like a leaky faucet
I’m pulling weeds
the sun warms my back
my family rests in the safety of inside
my mind rests in the safety of my skull


No poisoned darts of yesterday will find their mark
No future entanglements ensnare this precious moment
And when this moment slips into what was
another moment jumps in joy, blaring his trumpet of arrival

 

I go on pulling weeds
Thanking the sun, thanking Spring
Thanking the now for the safety it can bring
Thanking the weeds for pulling me outside
Thanking the illusion of time for pulling me aside
Grateful to grandfather clock
for showing me the why, the how,
The peaceful surrender
to be here now

-Cronin Detzz

Be Here Now-CroninDetzz

When writing, we are often  not in the present.  We are thinking ahead to our next chapter or we are applying lessons and characters from our past.  Next time you encounter writer’s block, try living in that very moment.

Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

WRITER’S CONUNDRUM: GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT FRANKENSTEIN

Art versus the science of writing

Art versus science
(That’s me, on the right)

I don’t attend writing workshops. I don’t want a book on “Writing for Dummies.”

I do read author blogs and I do educate myself on writing great dialogues and the like – but not TOO much.

The reason? I have this awkward fear it will ruin my writing. Sure, learning more about plots and denouement and killer endings would improve my writing. I know this. But wouldn’t it take the fun out of writing if I tried too hard? Moreover – and here is the crux of the matter – would it change my writing? Would my writing become less like one of my own flesh-and-blood children and more like a grammatically correct Frankenstein?

If I know too much about themes, antagonists, and symbolism, will the fun be sucked out of stories like the vampires that my English teachers proved to be? To put it in Hollywood terms: if I know how the special effects crew create a compelling scene, the magic of the movie is lost forever.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you, even if you are an English teacher, as long as you promise to refrain from biting my jugular.

Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz