Let’s first look at the concept of time— aka that thing we never seem to have enough of. How many times have you heard, “You’re a writer? OH! I’ve always wanted to be a writer—I just never have the time.”
Hmmm- balderdash. If they REALLY always wanted to be a writer, they would FIND the time. They would make it, fight for it, carve it out in five minutes blocks if need be.
But they would DO IT.
And since all of us here are writers, I know all of us are doing that too. Right?
I seem to hear some muttering in the wings there ;).
Let’s face it, even with the best intentions and the most heartfelt NEED to write, we all often have trouble finding the time for it.
But the fact is we all have the same amount of time as all of those famous scientists, inventors, and yes, novelists. Very few people are given the chance to have unlimited time to follow their passion (and those folks, believe it or not, often face a new set of issues even with all of that time). Many of us have to hold Evil Day Jobs (aka EDJ) to pay the bills. We can’t afford to run off into some cottage and just follow our bliss. Others may not have to have an EDJ, but have young families they need to take care of. Nicer than the EDJ, but still a lot of work, and time not spent on writing.
So, how do we do it then?
First, find out where the problem is. Do you plan out your day? If not, you may want to, at least until you get a routine down. Making writing a daily routine is key. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes- after a month or so of doing it every day, it will just be part of what you do. So grab all of the “must-do’s” in a day. Things like EDJ, family, food, sleep, writing. Yup. Note how many things aren’t must do’s. Yes, house work and laundry are important—but put them on a second tier for now. TV, Facebook, emails, social media belong on a third tier.
Looking at your first tier how much time does this leave you? I work 8 hours a day at an EDJ, so add on a generous hour and a half for dinner and decompression….hmmm, that leaves about 3 hours… THREE HOURS! And yet, I still have “trouble finding time to write”. I’m confessing to you all in the hopes it will shame me into mending my wastrel ways.
Step two is figuring out just where this missing writing time is being sucked off to. For many of us (myself included) the vile villain is TV. I have a stressful EDJ, so I tell myself I deserve the TV time to relax. Well and good, the trick here is to make writing work with your life, not destroy it. A TV show won’t kill it—a few shows every night might.
I have realized that I have to be tough on my inner TV addicted child. She can now watch while eating dinner and can watch one recorded show. Then writing. Or even mindlessly starring at nothing (but the brain works when you do that, did you know?).
Computer madness is another draw for many people. The real and imagined “needs” of social media are seriously becoming a crisis for many people. Again, setting parameters of when and when you will engage will help. If you are someone who has the freedom to write in the mornings- don’t start with your email. Get some writing in, then check email, etc. Gets the brain focused on the right thing. Also, limit your time. Use a timer if need be. Disconnect the internet if you need to while writing.
Sometimes time sucks aren’t as much of a problem as time planning. You have your list of things to do, and where is writing? Often squished in somewhere where you could fit it. If you’re not a night person, putting writing in at the end of the day is sort of useless.
Figure out what is the best time of day for you to write-- and put it in your plan at that time. Block off that time. If you need to get up an hour early- DO IT.
The saddest writing excuse is, “I don’t have time.” Because, yeah, you do. You just have to find it and fight for it.
Thanks for coming by! And please, if you have any of your own time sucks (and solutions!) post them!