A few weeks ago, I wrote about Berries and Prolificness, wherein we discussed how every unimpressive little bit adds up to create an impressive whole. Sort of to follow up on that, I asked some of my writing pals on Twitter:
We all agree that you can’t write a book in a day (at least not a long one, or a good one), but I loved their answers. (And by the way, any of these folks would be worth your time to follow, if Twitter is yo thang.)
Some of those things aren’t really all that applicable to me (for example, my phone is a phone- not a camera, not the internet, and not a writing platform), but I delved into them all a little deeper over the last couple weeks, as well as in my own brain meats, and came up with three main principles for making time for writing. Of course, you could extend these principles to making time for anything that you love.
Reduce your commitments- If you honestly, seriously, really, truly have no time for writing, you need to cut back on your commitments. Not having time to jot out even fifteen minutes of world building or to spend ten minutes writing a scene means your schedule is too full to be healthy. If writing is on your short list of things you want to do with your life, you need to cut back on other things. All the writers I talked to mentioned prioritizing writing above other things that mattered less to them (sleep, social life, etc.) As a personal example, I like to watch movies or TV shows, but writing is more important to me than that. As a result, I watch one movie a week maximum, and no television. I don’t play video games at all, except occasionally with my husband, but I count that more as hubby time than personal entertainment. (Side note: hubby time is one of three things that always trumps writing.) My free time, rare bird that it is, is most usually spent in writing.
Keep goals simple- If I tell myself I want to publish a novel, that can be pretty daunting. Even if I just want to write a novel, it’s still daunting. It’s much more attainable to break long term goals down into smaller goals. Write 1000 words a day. Write one hour a day. Write a chapter a week. Write each lunch break. Whatever works best for you. My write buddy and I have a pact to do something every day to further our writing careers, whether that be working on a blog post, world building, or actually working on our novels. It’s simple and easy to achieve, and so we’re set up for success instead of for failure.
Be serious about it- I’m terrible at my closet hobbies. I don’t tell anyone about them, I only practice them when others won’t notice, and, as a result, they take back burner to everything else, even stupid things. I’m serious about my writing, though. Everyone who’s close to me knows that I write daily and that I get mighty irritated when my writing time gets disrupted. Plus, people ask me about how my writing is going, about where I’m at in my rocky road to publication, and the added accountability of knowing that anyone could ask at any time encourages me to have something on hand to tell folks. If I expect others to take my writing seriously, I’m more likely to take it seriously myself. If I conduct myself as a professional, pretty soon I might actually be a professional.
Now, this post isn’t nearly exhaustive, and I know you’ve all got some tricks and tips that I’ve missed, so please share them in the comments below! One of the biggest struggles many of us deal with is finding the time for writing, so let us know how you make it happen.