Literally Literary: 3 Steps to Living Your Story Beyond the Page

Skyscrapers were left in the electric cluster of downtown Sydney, surrendering space to eucalyptus groves and glistening waterways. I pressed myself to the bus’s fog-smeared window and gazed beyond the Harbour Bridge’s crisscrossed cords at the Opera House’s pale outline. Once highways stole my view, I opened my journal and scribbled notes, quotes and character sketches until the bus neared my stop.

For two months, I followed the same routine. I watched my beloved city fade into the morning haze, then I dove into another city, another world. By the end of my stay in Sydney, Australia, I brainstormed and wrote half of a novel.

"The Vestige" mug by Verge of Wisteria. Shop here:

"The Vestige" mug by Verge of Wisteria. Shop here:

Time is sparse. We often put creativity aside to make room for daily chores, job tasks and other responsibilities. However, writing doesn’t have to be limited to a few hours of laptop work. In fact, it is most effective when integrated into everyday duties.

My schedule isn’t packed with free moments—I’m a full-time student, part-time intern at a literary agency, author, blogger, speaker and small group leader. That said, I struggle to ration a few hours for writing each day.

How does it happen? How does writing fit into a busy schedule?

Short answer: The best way to integrate writing into a full life is to live it on and off the page.

While you’re driving to school or work, brainstorm your story’s plot and characters. During your lunch break, jot down dialogue ideas and chapter outlines. When you get home at night, invest a few hours into putting your day’s creativity onto paper.

You may think, “Caroline, that’s easier said than done.”

I agree with you.

Here are three steps to help you live your story beyond the page:

Step 1 – Schedule 45 minutes of creativity throughout your day. For example, spend 15 minutes jotting possible character quotes during your lunch break, 5 minutes building a writing playlist while you get ready in the morning, etc.

Step 2 – Ration an hour for writing each evening or morning. This will allow you to feel productive and accomplished.

Step 3 – Invest in your own story. It’s important to balance fiction and reality, so be sure to make time for friends, fun activities, etc.

Takeaway: Live every aspect of your story, both real and fictional, so your creativity can flourish despite busy schedules.

What are some habits that help you manage your schedule?

Do you have a specific writing routine?