“Finding time to write” often feels as though you need a chunk of time—at least an hour, say—or a free weekend. Whatever your definition of a chunk, it may be hard to come by. I suggest that you start thinking in terms of slivers: for example, commit to a hundred words a day. These do not need to be well-polished, sparkling gems. They just need to be words, words you may later use or scrap. But simply doing it builds confidence that you can. Carry a note pad with you so that you can build those one hundred words in five-minute increments, if necessary, during a bus ride or coffee break—whatever. Think slivers.
One of the very best things a writer can do is listen. Perhaps you are in a restaurant and someone in the booth behind you says, “All she wanted was the dog and the car.” You ave an instant idea for a story, or at least a story element. Or perhaps you catch just a phrase, about someone “down on his hunkers.” It’s a lovely, telling phrase, revealing something about the speaker and/or the someone. So practice being an auditory sponge. And don’t forget to keep your notepad handy!
Tell Tale Heart, the Central Virginia Chapter of Sisters in Crime, held it’s October meeting today. Special Agent Kathryn M. Land, Richmond Division of the FBI, spoke to the group. Agent Land spoke candidly and informally for more than two hours about issues of interest to mystery writers, including inter-agency cooperation, and the shift in FBI focus from criminal investigations (pre-9/11) to national security (post 9/11). The chapter hosts 4-6 programs per year, open to the public, at libraries in the greater Richmond area.