Ellis Shuman is originally from Sioux City, Iowa, but he has been living in Israel since the age of fifteen. He has lived in Bulgaria, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and currently resides on a moshav outside Jerusalem. Shuman has an active blog about writing, culture and current events. He recently completed writing his second novel.
I am frequently asked what the most difficult part of being a writer is. Is it conceiving the initial outline for the plot of a novel? Or the development of the characters? Perhaps editing is the most challenging part of the process? Many fellow authors argue that marketing their books takes up the majority of their time and, admittedly, marketing a book is much more difficult than writing and editing.
For me, though, the most difficult part of being a writer is finding the time to write. I commute to my office job every day, getting stuck in traffic in at least one direction. While at work I try to concentrate on my job. By the time I return home in the evening hours I am physically exhausted and my mind is drained of all creativity. Weekends, unfortunately, offer less of an opportunity to write than I would like. I prefer to spend my free time with my wife and family. Also, I like to read, travel, watch entertaining television shows, and take long walks.
So, when is there time to write? I finally found a solution.
- Coffee Shop
I have added an extra hour to my day. Each morning I leave the house at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. and drive to Tel Aviv while there is little traffic on the road. I park my car at my office and walk ten minutes to a nearby coffee shop. I am one of the first customers there, so I have my choice of one of the two small tables situated by the lone electricity socket.
I plug in my laptop, sit down with my cappuccino and begin to write. For some, the grinding of coffee beans; the hiss of steam escaping as milk is heated; and the swish of credit cards as orders are recorded; can be very distracting, but I manage to disappear into my own world.
I only have one hour of creative writing before I need to report to my office, but I make the most of it. Day by day, I make steady, page-by-page progress on my writing.
The coffee I drink stimulates me, and the ideas that have popped into my mind during the previous 24 hours find their way into my work in progress.
- In Between
I finish my coffee and it’s time to leave. I pack up my laptop and leave the coffee shop. I will continue thinking about my manuscript throughout the day but I won’t have time to work on it again until the next morning’s steaming cup of cappuccino.