Removing the Constraints

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a book is getting it done. Our lives are filled with distractions, for those of us working the forty-plus hours to make ends meet; those distractions can derail all the good intentions you have of bringing your story world to life. When you add family, friends, and having a social life, all of the time seems to get sucked into the ether, never to return. It kind of makes you wonder how many awesome books have not been written only because the author did not have time to commit to the discipline of writing, doesn’t it?
For most of my adult life I was in the same boat. As an active duty Navy veteran and put in well over forty hours per week, and that does not include the extra duty on top of my day job. I have a wife and two children who fill my life with joy as well as other hobbies that help me to blow off steam. I was in a void before I began writing my first book. I was in that place where I lied to myself about not having enough time to write a book.
Now, I did not go to Wal-Mart to buy a few extras hours to tack onto the end of my day, but I did take a hard look at my daily schedule and I cut out the unnecessary clutter. It was mid-2012 and Farmville was the biggest Facebook game running at the time. I literally spent HOURS each day harvesting crops and all of the other tasks required to keep my fictional farm running. I used to sit on the couch, laptop in my lap, playing Farmville while mindlessly watching television. Looking back, it was a horrible existence, I was unhappy and moody. I look back on that time as one where I might have actually been depressed without even realizing it. I thought I was happy, but it was not until I began my writing journey that I found my happiest self. It just took some time to dig myself out of that hole and begin the climb to becoming a published author.
The first thing I did was delete every Facebook game from my profile. Social media is addictive enough without those games, but by freeing myself from that “burden” I was able to unlock more than a few hours each night to dedicate to writing. I also chose not to engage in television shows that I tended to watch between my favorite shows. I’m sure you can think of a few shows that take up the “time between” for you as well. Even with this freed up time I still struggled to write, though. Part of it might have been inspiration, mainly because pulling out the laptop and getting it to boot up was several minutes of time where I would find myself distracted again.
But, all was not lost. I found my writing salvation in my pocket of all places. In order to simplify my process and write the first draft of my book I used my iPhone. That’s right, all fifty-something thousand words of the first draft of “Exodus” were thumb-texted into a document application on my phone. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. I found myself typing in a few sentences every chance I had and then emailing the file to myself for safe keeping and easy editing. The process was not perfect, but it made the process of writing everyday easily obtainable.
Motivation can be driven by the feeling of accomplishments. Each day I accomplished, or exceeded, my word count goals. This motivated me even more and as the month went on I was closer and closer to having that first book written. When I reached the end I felt as if I had climbed a mountain. That sense of accomplishment was only magnified when I published the first book in The Dead Planet Series a few months later.
If you are like me, drowning in a sea of time constraints and in need of an easy way to get the words down for your book, then I encourage you to take a look at your process, cut the fluff, and maybe even pull out your phone. In the end, it’s all about getting the word son paper, without those you will never have a book to call your own. Now is the time to make it happen and the means to do so could be in your pocket as well. You never know when and where inspiration may strike, so it’s best to always be ready. Happy writing!


I am an active duty Navy veteran and self published science fiction author. I grew up in Mississippi and joined the navy at seventeen. I now live in Virginia with my wife and two daughters.

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2 comments on “Removing the Constraints
  1. I don’t have a game keeping me from writing my own book. I fear not doing it right, having it torn apart by an editor because I didn’t put all the necessary components in the story in the right portions. I’ll be reviewing a little less once I get my promises taken care of and spend more time reading books on getting all the parts of the novel as perfect as possible. I don’t even have a job, nor smart phone. So I should be able to do this, right?

    • drewavera says:

      You gotta do what you gotta do lol. As long as you commit to writing every day then the method you use is optional. Using my iPhone helped me write the first book, but I am more disciplined now and write at a desktop mostly. Good luck.

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