If you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely a writer, or you wish to become one. If you’re not a writer yet, what’s stopping you? Do you not know what to write about? Do you think your writing is bad? Do you lack the patience to sit down and churn out words? Whatever the reason, there’s usually an easy solution. But there’s one particular writing issue that isn’t that simple to resolve: lack of time.
It’s ironic that I’m making this post considering I haven’t had time to do much writing myself, mainly because I just started a new job and I’ve been doing a lot of research into going back to school. Like most normal human beings, I just don’t think there are enough hours in the day to do everything I want, so I’ve had to prioritize. However, seeing as writing is an important part of my life, I’ve had to find ways to include it in my hectic daily schedule, and I hope my advice helps you do the same.
Let’s say you’re like me: you work the typical nine-to-five job from Monday through Friday. Then you sleep about eight hours each night. Take out the three or four miscellaneous hours where you eat, brush your teeth, shower, commute, etc. That leaves you with four or five hours each weekday to do as you please. When it comes to weekends, well, you’ve got all the time in the world (unless you’re like me several years ago when I worked the dreaded hours of retail).
The point I’m trying to make is that there is always SOME time in the day for you to get your writing done. In fact, you can get your daily writing quota in with just one hour each day. One hour – but that hour better be well-spent. That means actually pushing out content and not just watching YouTube videos or chatting on social media. Don’t be ashamed – we all do it.
That daily hour of writing doesn’t have to be all at once. Take advantage of little pockets of time throughout your day. Have a long lunch break at work? Write. Riding on the train? Write. Waiting for class to start? Write. This is why it’s a great idea to always carry around a notebook (or even use the notepad on your phone).
What I’ve found that helps is giving myself a little bit of leisure time before I start writing. It’s not like I leave work right away and immediately sit behind my laptop and start hammering away at the keys. I give myself a half-hour to an hour to settle in. I grab a bite to eat, I read a comic or a chapter of a book, or I watch a quick episode on Netflix. My mind has been working like a machine the entire day, and it needs a chance to cool down. I’ve tried writing right after a long work day before, and trust me, it doesn’t end well. I find myself unable to properly string words together or create coherent thoughts. I’m running on fumes.
Another thing I’ve found useful is cutting down on all the unnecessary time-wasters. For me, it’s video games. I made a promise to myself not to buy any new video games until after I had finished my book. Well, I’ll admit right now that I failed that part since I binged at a recent store-closing sale and bought seven new games. But I’m not starting any of them just yet. They’re currently sitting on my shelf, waiting to be opened until after Thanksgiving when I finally have time to waste again. Find a way to keep similar time-wasters from eating away at your schedule so that you have time to write. If you’re serious about your writing, it should be one of your top priorities. First and foremost, though, you need to make time for your family, your health, and your job. Writing is important, but not important enough to put ahead of your well-being.
One big thing to remember when making time for your writing is to not overburden yourself. You may feel like writing hundreds of stories all at once. That’s awesome that you have that kind of ambition, but you better be able to organize it all. I have numerous stories I want to create, but my priority is my main novel. If I tried to focus on everything all at once, I get stressed out and don’t know where to begin. I end up just flipping between several word documents, trying to figure out which one to work on. It’s much easier to find time for your writing when you have a clear, focused project in your mind. You shouldn’t go into your day thinking, “I’m going to write for an hour.” Instead, you should think, “What am I going to write today?”
Don’t feel bad about skipping a day or two. While it’s better to write every single day, you don’t want to force it. Sometimes, you just don’t feel like writing. In that case, feel free to spend your time on a leisurely activity. Play a video game. Read a book. Do something to clear your mind, and then come back to it later on. Just don’t let too much writing-free time go by. Writing is like a muscle, and what happens when you don’t use a muscle for a long time? It becomes weaker (I’m pretty sure I’ve used that muscle metaphor plenty of times in my blog already, but it’s the truth).
When you’re passionate about something, you commit yourself to it. If you really want to be a writer, you have to find time to hone your craft each day. You can never use the excuse, “there aren’t enough hours in the day!” Trust me, there is ALWAYS time to pursue your passion.
Is there a particular topic you’d like me to cover in a future post? Leave a comment, or head on over to my Facebook page and share your thoughts!