Finding Time To Write By Pamela Samuels Young, Author of Murder on the Down Low and Buying Time.
In the beginning, you were full of excitement about that novel that had been bubbling around in your head. You finally planted yourself in front of your computer and started typing away. Day after day, you rushed home from work, anxious to pick up where you left off. Then life intervened and you haven’t been able to get back to your novel for weeks, or maybe even months.
Take it from me, finding time to write is one of the most challenging aspects of being a writer who is still holding down a full-time job. While the lack of time to write can sometimes be so frustrating that you want to throw in the towel, please don’t. Whether you have just an hour a week or one day a month, use that time and use it wisely.
Here are some tips that can help you find time to write, even if you’re convinced you have no time.
1. Prepare a Weekly Writing Schedule
Sit down with your calendar on Friday evening and go through everything you have to do for the coming week. Determine where you can find time to write, even if it’s only an hour and schedule that time as you would any other appointment. Do the same thing the following Friday and every Friday thereafter until you develop a regular writing schedule. If you fall off track, simply hop back on.
2. Determine What Activities You Can Give Up
When you prepare your writing schedule, review your activities the previous week and determine what things you can give up. Do you really need to see that new Will Smith movie this weekend? How much time did you spend watching your favorite TV shows? Maybe you can go to the gym three days a week instead of four. Identify all the activities you can eliminate and use that time to write.
3. Learn to Write Anywhere
If someone had told me five years ago that Starbucks would be one of my favorite places to write, I would have laughed. How could anyone write in a noisy coffeehouse with constant foot traffic? Well, it works quite well for me, particularly when I’m in the zone. I’ve since learned to write in a number of odd places. I’ve written in the car while my husband is driving, in the beauty shop, even in the doctor’s office. While I love my writing getaways where I spend an entire week or weekend alone in Palm Springs writing away, I’ve learned to write wherever I am and you can learn to do the same.
4. Ask Your Family for Support.
Explain your writing goals to your family and friends and ask them to support you. Tell them that achieving your dreams of becoming a published author will mean seeing a little less of you. While you may attend the family barbecue, you might have to tiptoe out a few hours early to squeeze in some writing time. Writing is a solo venture and sometimes, those closest to you may make you feel guilty for abandoning them. Don’t let the guilt deter you from your goal. Trust me, once you’re a successful author, no one will hold it against you.
5. Read Time Management Books for Writers.
Sometimes it helps to seek advice from professionals. There are two books on time management for writers that I highly recommend. They both offer practical strategies as well as tips for helping you stay motivated. I would even go as far as urging you to spend some of your writing time reading these books!
Write is a Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No Excuses by Bill O’Hanlon. The author of this book is a psychotherapist and writing coach who conducts workshops for writers. He focuses on helping writers determine what motivates them to write. He offers practical and useful techniques to help you start and finish your novel.
Time to Write: Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing into Your Busy Life by Kelly L. Stone. In Time to Write, Stone shares the stories of several successful writers who explain how they did it. You’ll hear from big name writers like Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter, and Tess Gerritsen. Once you see how they got it done, you’ll realize that you can do it too!
Wow Pamela, what great advice! As a fledgling author I love to hear what advice the successful authors can offer.