Would you like to write a book or to write more often? You may have an idea in mind for what you’d like to be writing about, be it your memoir, how-to, children's or poetry book. But finding time to write isn't easy - even for career authors! You're certainly not alone. Fitting regular writing into a busy week is a challenge for many aspiring and established authors, who may also have a job, family commitments or other responsibilities. The following tips will help you find the time to write a book, short story, collection of poetry or an article.
Tip 1: Make changes to your weekly rountine
If your life is full of activity, you will need to take something out of it, to allow something new in. For instance, you could stop watching TV or spend less time socialising, shopping or doing chores. You could get up an hour or two earlier in the mornings to write, when the house is quiet or write when your kids are playing sports, as you wait.
To make progress with writing, it is important to have an end date in mind and to do write at least weekly. If you can afford more time, better still. If you write on the same day every week or at the same time every day, it will form a habit in you and habits matter when you want to make progress with anything. Having an end date will give you some idea of how much time you need to allocate to writing to reach your goal.
When planning a writing schedule, jot down all you do in an ordinary week. Assess how your time is being spent. Everyone has the same amount of time every day, however, some people make better use of their time than others. Of course, some have greater time pressures than others. Be objective, do you notice time that is not being utilised and could it be spent writing instead?
Tip 2: Choose a spot to write that inspires you
Choose a spot to write that you like being in and you will naturally want to make time to be there because it makes you feel good. Personalise that place so it feels like its yours. Make it inviting. If it’s a room at home with a desk, spruce it up with some nice decor, pictures and sayings that mean something to you. Make sure it’s a room with a window so you can enjoy natural light and fresh air while you write. And get a easy-care plant. A writer needs a pot-plant to talk too!
Furthermore, to stimulate your writer’s imagination you may like to take your writing out-and-about sometimes, to your favourite cafe, park, the ocean or woods. Being among people, bustling activity or in the beauty and serenity of nature will help you with writing ideas. Feeling inspired by your surroundings or seeing the world around your from a different perspective will certainly make you want to find the time to write.
Tip 3: Set up expectations to help motivate you
It is important to have expectations of yourself as a writer. Many authors and writers manage their time more efficiently when there are expectations coming from outside of them. When someone is expecting your writing to be delivered in a timely manner; whether it be your editor, readers, clients, peers or family members - it gets you moving! You feel you don’t want to let them down.
There are many ways of putting a healthy amount of pressure on yourself as a writer. You could tell family to expect your memoir for Christmas or clients to expect your helpful how-to book by next financial year. You could arrange for a friend to receive a chapter of your manuscript every month and then ask them provide you with feedback. Or you could do the same with a writer's group or blog.
Tip 4: Make the most of your tiny times and daily pauses
If snatches of time are all you can afford then you can still make progress. We all have tiny times or daily pauses - make these into something. The magic of a pen and notebook or laptop is that you can take one wherever you go. So, if you have a pause in your day, like a coffee break, lunch break, bus ride, appointment etc. then gather your sporadic thoughts in these moments and quickly jot them down. You can then come back the them later and expand on them.
These days, people like to write on devices, but it’s also good to get a little old fashioned with your writing. Carry a small notebook around with you, always. Or leave paper and pen in the places you frequent. You’ll be amazed how often a perfectly fantastic idea, phrase or word arises when you’re sitting on the toilet, taking a shower, cutting up vegetables, washing dishes, hanging out laundry, standing in a cue, buying groceries or waiting in traffic. If you don’t jot it down, there and then (or thereabouts), you’ll have a sleepless night trying to recall those perfect words!
Tip 5: See your writing as having real value
If you perceive your writing as something that is nourishing and sacred to your life, then you add value to it. If you feel your words are a way of passing on hope, inspiration, and knowledge to others, you add value to it. If you value your writing you will naturally prioritise it. Writing enriches life in ways money cannot. So, if you really want to write, or to write more, and feel you truly haven’t the time, you may even consider working less in your day job so you have the time to write.
I hope these writer's tips have been helpful to you. What is your greatest challenge when it comes to finding time to write?