Monday, December 07, 2020

How to Make Time to Write When You Have a Busy Life

Finding the time to write is a common problem amongst writers.  Especially if you're new to it and really want to get that novel down on paper that you've always wanted to write.

You might have a bucket list to go through and somewhere on that list is writing a book or novel.  I'm assuming because you're reading this, that this is something you've been meaning to do for a long time but just haven't found the time to write.  Or you may be a writer that's stuck in a rut, and not making the kind of progress you want to make with your writing career.  

So assuming you're still reading this lets start looking at some ways you can start making time to write.

TV Time

How many hours do you spend watching television?  With all of the temptations of Netflix and other streaming services on offer, you could easily spend your whole life glued to the television set.  Why not just simply switch off and start with just a half an hour a day writing.  There are no rules for how many hours you should be spending each day, but by starting small with half an hour a day, you can build that time up to one hour then two hours or as long as you need.

Related: 14 Ways to Stay Focused When You Write

Early Riser 

If you're an early riser, set your alarm clock forty-five minutes early, and just write.  Night owls can add-on extra three quarters of an hour at the end of their day, and build on that.  This is very much like the previous point mentioned, the only difference is the time you choose or prefer to write during the day.

People in Work or Have Families

For those with families, full-time jobs or even part-time jobs, make time at the weekend.  If you have any other hobbies you do at the weekend, ask yourself which is more important?  Writing needs to start being an important part of your life, and there's no time like the present to get started.

Start Making Writing a Priority in Your Life

This is where you're going to have to start turning down social invitations, and turning to your writing.  Not taking part in non-essential activities with family and friends, you can't do everything.  

Having No Regrets

Do you want to look back over your life thinking, 'I wished I'd written that book', or do you want to say 'I wrote that'.   

Make a Writing Schedule

Take the time each week to write down the next week's writing time and stick to it.  Start small and build on that until it becomes a regular habit.  Then it won't seem difficult to write for an hour.  

Once you've got you're writing time sorted out, you need to protect it like a lioness protecting her cubs.  If you want to make it happen this is what it takes.  Writing requires quality time, and you owe it to yourself to give it everything you've got.

Why You Need to Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Setting a weekly schedule may sound crazy to a lot of creative people, but to a writer it can boost creativity and motivation.

But don't panic, you don't need to create a spreadsheet, just write in your diary the days you can fit time in to write.  Most people have some kind of schedule already going on in their life, so this isn't any real hardship, but finding the time is.  Unless something really important crops up, then that time should be set aside for writing and nothing else.  There's no point in 'doing it later' because it'll never get done. 

Related: How to Write About What You Love and Get Paid

Honing Your Craft

Unless you're a natural (not many people are), you'll find writing difficult to begin with, until you start to find your feet and voice.  And all of that takes time.  Hours and hours in fact in front of a computer screen, or writing it all down on paper (whichever you prefer).  It doesn't matter what genre you've chosen, it all takes time to get your ideas onto paper. 

Essential Tips for Forming Good Writing Habits:

So here are some tips to turn your procrastination into good writing habits. 

1. Make Writing the First Task of the Day

Putting something to the top of your daily list is the easiest way to make a daily habit.  Because there are too many things that can pull you away, and stop you from writing during the day.  

Making writing a priority earlier on in the day means you're a lot less tired, and you've got a greater chance of getting it done if you're an early riser. 


2. Stick to the 80/20 Rule

80/20 rule or Pareto principle as it's called is the principle that 20 percent of your time and effort produces 80 percent of the result, or 80 percent of what you do is caused by 20 percent of your effort.  

So when you start focussing on the things that don't mean that much to you, you're really working within the 80 percent of effort that won't get you the 20 percent of the results you wanted.

3. Monitor Your Writing Time

A lot of writers use a spreadsheet to keep track of their daily word count and time spent writing each day.  If you're not that keen on spreadsheets to document your time, keep a journal for your success and challenges.

You may find that having too much on during the day totally overwhelming, and you can't help but come to a grinding halt.  So it definitely pays to do a little experimentation until you get your writing time sorted out, and you'll quickly discover things will start falling into place.

Read more:

How to Prepare Yourself as a Writer

How to Accept Your Writing Anxiety, and Spend Time on the Craft

Why All Writers Should Set Goals

How to Overcome Your Writing Fear With Mind Games

Find Your Writing Hero

How to Find Like-Minded Writers

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