Jesus, do you see that guy to the left? The one whose head is exploding in a bouquet of paper, various typed notes on them? That's pretty terrifying to me. I'd love to go out like that, as though one day, the embarrassment of riches that lives in my head just can't be contained any longer, and my head just explodes with already-typed and edited material.
The other day, I was lucky enough to attend my first gathering of members of the Horror Writers Association, of which, I am a member, thanks to my publishing of People: A Horror Anthology About Love, Loss, Life & Things That Go Bump in the Night. I couldn't be more excited to meet with so many great, talented writers, most of them super-local and not far from me, so, it's a valuable opportunity to connect with them. At the first meeting I was able to attend, there was a discussion about writing, and overcoming the various hurdles that face writers, every day. Whether its having the time to write, or if the ending isn't making itself abundantly clear, whatever the excuse, it was sorta' touched on during the gathering. I was the newbie in the group, so I didn't want to monopolize the conversation, so I listened to these incredibly talented guys chat about their writing styles and modes.
I remember, years ago, I met an author named Keith DeCandido, lots of personality, huge genre guy. Very friendly and affable in my experience meeting and chatting with him. I remember him saying that he preferred to write at a specific time of day, as opposed to whenever. I, personally, have always found I'm most productive in the middle of the afternoon. I'm writing this very blog while sitting in a Brockport, NY restaurant, eating a haddock sandwich (with provolone cheese, thank you very much), hammering away on my laptop and eavesdropping on the conversations around me. In a few minutes, I'll be knee-deep in editing two stories I finished this past week, one vastly stronger than the other. This will continue into the late afternoon, until I decide to leave and either head back to Long Island, or find a hotel here in the snowy upstate regions most metro-NYers forget exists.
My point is, I suppose, is that it doesn't matter when you write. No time is better than any other, the key is to write when the inspiration strikes you. I get that we all have obligations, kids, work, whatever the case may be, but finding the time to decompress and write (or paint, crochet, knit, draw, whatever the hell you love to do) is just as important as the work you do every day. Without indulging one's passions, what's the point?
When I'm at work, I like to write during my off-periods, logging into the computer in the teacher's lounge and hammering out a few pages a day. I'm lucky I get to do that, other folks, locked in cubicles, don't get to, so I get it. If you want to write, just write. Find the time, no matter when it is, and exorcise your demons.
Robert P. Ottone is an author, teacher, and cigar enthusiast from East Islip, New York. He delights in the creepy.