To Be a Writer, You Have to Write, but How Do You Find The Time to Write?
Life can be busy, busy, busy, and finding time between social networking, responsibilities, and a day job can make it hard to do the one thing you need to be doing constantly as a writer: writing. So we need to find the time to write. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to do just that:
Carry a notebook with you
Even if you have a laptop, I have found that I’m less likely to pull it out when I’m out and about. The barrier to write is much smaller with a pen and paper than a laptop. For example, to write on my laptop, which is admittedly not the best performing piece of machinery, I have to let it boot up. Then, once it’s booted up, I then have to open word, open my document, then I can start writing. On the other hand, with a notebook, I just have to take it out and start writing.
I always have a tiny notebook with me, so when there’s a slow moment or I have to wait on something, I can just whip that baby out and get to writing. Of course, if you find that writing by hand isn’t for you, carry your laptop. It’s all about writing when you can, and if you’re more likely to write on your laptop, then do that. Regardless of what you choose, just make sure you have your writing instrument of choice always handy.
Use an egg timer
If you have some time at home, but have to divide your time between activities, get yourself an egg timer. My last semester of college, I had reading assignments. So, I would set an egg timer, read for 30 minutes, then write for 30 minutes, and go back and forth until it was time to do something else. However, if you don’t have an egg timer, nor do you have college work to do, wash clothes. Pop a load of laundry into the washing machine or dryer, then write until the timers go off. Then, fold and transfer the laundry around. When you’re done, get back to writing. This can also be done with a dish washer and an oven (if you’re cooking).
Lock yourself up
Sometimes, it’s not that we don’t have enough time to write, it’s that we’re distracted by other things. Find a room, turn off your cell phone, lock the door and get to writing. Of course this is often times easier said than done. I’ve found that if the distractions of home are too much to ignore, it’s best to just separate myself from them completely. For example, I’ll often go to a coffee shop and write, or to my local public library.
Work on an outline
If you can’t bring yourself to work on your novel or short story, rather than wasting that time blankly staring at the empty word doc, try breaking it into smaller pieces. Create an outline. It’s still a productive way to write without forcing yourself to actually write something out. Plus, if you don’t have a lot of time to actually write during the day, work on the outline when you can until you get a larger chunk of time to yourself. Then, you can use the outline and fill in the details.
Leverage lunch breaks
When I used to work retail, I would hide away in the break room and write. When you’re at work, often times you are sequestered away from all of the distractions you might typically find at home such as: kids and pets, your cell phone, that dust bunny you still have to sweep from behind the TV, etc. As a result, you have a perfect opportunity to put all your focus on your writing. Leverage your breaks to work on your writing. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, that’s 15 more minutes of writing.
Make time to write
Ultimately, days are going to come when you won’t have time to write through the day. Maybe you are at a point in life where you have so much on your plate, you just can’t find the time during the day. Unfortunately, that means you’ll need to make time. Get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later, either way, you’re going to need to make time.
Like I said before, a writer is just someone who writes. These are small everyday tasks and routines that can be easily implemented into most lifestyles, which will help you become a better and more consistent writer. However, I do want to say one thing: don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write every day. As long as you’re writing and making progress, you’re doing what you need to do. Thank you for reading.