If I wanted to be cheeky and insensitive, my answer to this question would be, ‘Anytime!’ But I understand the very real confusion that people who dream of writing face. It’s like blundering through a world where there are no rules, no degrees that will help you and no one waving a green flag to set you off on your journey. ‘Anytime!’ is too easy an answer, a lazy response to a very real anxiety.
What exactly is the right time to write? Should you write the minute an idea strikes you? Or should you wait for it to settle down in your head, to put out tender little leaves and then begin to write?
I am afraid there is really no right or wrong answer to this question. It is largely a matter of what suits you. There have been story ideas that have impressed me so much with their brilliance that I have sat down and written them out right away. But there are other stories that simmer and bubble in my mind till one day I am simply longing to write the story. The maturing time between the birth of an idea and the actual writing of the story is a wonderful time and it has a very positive impact on the writing. The writing flows, smooth and rich as chocolate and every sentence you write fills you with joy. Better still; the writing continues to charm you even after days and months have elapsed. And that’s when you know that yes, this was the right time to tell this particular story.
In most cases, however, the right time to write is the day you decide it is. Pick your favourite spot and that’s a beginning. Spend some time deciding if you want to write longhand or if you want to compose directly on the computer. Once you make this decision, you are ready to write. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by questions like whether you should use a pen or pencil, if a notebook is better than a loose sheaf of papers or even if you need music in the background. These are mere details and they only distract from your main work, which is writing. Concentrate only on the things which will actually help you think and therefore, write better.
And once you put down the first sentence on the paper or computer in front of you, a huge sense of lightness will fill you. And you will know then, what the right time to right is.
It is now. It is always and ever now.