by Kelsie Engen
Is there not enough time in the day to write? Or do you simply not know how to make the time?
It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time to discuss our writing insecurities again. And what’s worse, this Wednesday is already a week into the month! (How does time go by so quickly?)
This month the IWSG question is: “How do you find the time to write in your busy day?”
I’ve always been a highly self-motivated person–when it matters. And writing happens to matter immensely to me.
But even the most prolific of authors can have trouble fitting writing into some days. I don’t know about you, but not writing enough is definitely one of my insecurities. Whatever I do, I feel like I don’t do enough. And whatever I do, there is always more to do. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve found useful over my past writing years, and I hope they’ll be useful to you too.
- BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE. Unless you’re one of those rare people blessed with excess time on your hands, making time in your day to write requires that you remove something else from your schedule. So take an honest look at your schedule and start listing your priorities.
- MAKE GOALS. I am a goal-oriented person. I like making daily, weekly, and monthly goals. (I’m not so good on the yearly ones, but I’m working on it.) Write these goals down–be deliberate about them. And then plan your time accordingly. I find that if I know I have a goal of getting one chapter edited (or written) that week, I’m much more likely to make the time to sit down and edit/write it.
- MAKE IT EXCITING. If you aren’t excited about what you write, you aren’t going to want to sit down and write. So write what you’re excited about. If you aren’t excited, make it exciting. You’re bound to make the time then, stealing a few minutes here and there if you can’t find a chunk of time.
- GET UP EARLY/STAY UP LATE. Sometimes it takes both to get the words written. Commitments can pop up all day long, making it difficult to squeeze in time during the main hours of the day, so when you know you have a busy day ahead, wake up a half hour early and write for as long as you can before anything else starts. If you find yourself too distracted by the Internet, try writing longhand, or else downloading an Internet blocker like RescueTime.
- STAY INSPIRED. Do walks through the park whip yourself into a furor to write? Or is reading a great book? Or a horrible book? What about stockpiling writing prompts or inspiring images? Find a method of inspiration and do those things on a regular basis. Plan them into your day to prep yourself for the opportunities to write.
- MULTITASK…WHEN YOU CAN. Do the dishes as you make the kids breakfast so when you have a moment to sit down, you don’t have a messy kitchen distracting you. Better yet, plan ahead for breakfast and meals and use your prep time to daydream about your WIP or to listen to an audiobook. If you’re really talented, you can dictate your book as you prep.
- KEEP A JOURNAL HANDY. Find some way to write your thoughts down when you have a brain wave. (Just my luck these usually happen to me while I’m speeding down the highway, so I speak them to myself in Evernote.) But if you aren’t driving, use Evernote or your phone’s notepad feature to jot a note, or else bring a small journal with you where you can write your thoughts down in when they occur–something you won’t lose, so not the back of a receipt. If you always have a way to write handy, utilizing iPhone apps Ulysses, Storyist, or Scrivener, or any other of the myriad writing apps available today.
- (BONUS) WRITE OR DIE. Okay, this is a touch metaphorical, but besides the awesome website you can use to pump out words when you’re limited on time but have Internet access, you must make writing matter to you, make it about life or death–for you as well as your characters. If you do, then you’ll find numbers 1-7 easy.
Your turn! How do you make time to write?
Guest post contributed by Kelsie Engen. Kelsie loves to read and started her blog to share that passion with others of like mind.