Most writers probably don’t have all day to devote to their writing. Even established authors who have published books have commitments that can get in the way because that’s just how life works. For those leading busy lives or who may be just writing as a hobby, they especially need to find time to write and understand how to use that time the best they can. But how do you do that when so many other things get in the way? What about a job, school, family and kids, or anything else standing in your way of getting in a good writing session?
There are, of course, different techniques for getting the most out of your writing time. We’ll take a look at that later, but for now, here are some tips for finding time to write and crafting meaningful habits to write as much as possible in your free time.
Set A Time and Attainable Goals at the Same Time
First figure out what time works best for you, particularly when you know you won’t be bothered. Maya Angelou would wake up at two am to write before going to work. Kurt Vonnegut at 5:30 am. Stephen King writes on Christmas Day for crying out loud. There’s always time in the day, even if you have to sacrifice personal comfort. Writers sacrifice a lot when it comes to their craft. But finding time to write is as simple as that: finding time. And it’s not hard to look for. Your biggest obstacle will be pushing yourself to get into a habit of writing at these “inconvenient times.”
Second, when you carve out time in your schedule, start working on a small, reasonable goal, whether it be word count or outlining or anything else. Just make sure the goal doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s hard to keep a writing habit when you put too much pressure on yourself each time you write because now you can’t enjoy it or let yourself be inspired by your surroundings. And if the time you write is unconventional, you’ll only dread the time more. Set small goals and take one step at a time. That way, the schedule you’ve developed sticks.
Writers always have to be flexible, whether it be with their writing or with their time. Make sure your writing habits include unexpected events or changes to your schedule, otherwise you’ll end up flustered and distracted. This also offers opportunities for you to get creative as well. See if you can get some writing done on your lunch break or any other fifteen minute window you have and see if it sticks. See if you can add it to your schedule to get more time, and if you can only use that window once, take advantage of it, then change tactics again. You’ll then be more motivated to write and also more likely to get into certain habits now that you’re constantly looking for new ways to write more. And if you can’t write during your usual time, use the flexible time you just created for yourself.
Don’t Get Distracted
Obviously, everyone gets distracted. It’s just important that those distractions don’t overtake your writing time. Don’t let them linger for too long. The biggest distractions can pop up in your environment, so make sure you have a place that keeps those distractions at bay. Other distractions, however, come from your own thoughts. You start to wonder if you’re not good enough, or your writing isn’t good enough, and then you lose the energy to write at all. This can be tough to overcome, so while you’re at it, check out these posts below to help out with that:
Some Things to Remember:
Writing A Little Is Still Writing
I’ve experienced this many times, where I sit down, excited to write and everything, but it’s like my brain just doesn’t want to work. Even if you sit down for your scheduled writing session as part of your habit, it doesn’t matter if you can only get half a paragraph down. That’s still writing, and it’s not like you’re not going to edit or rewrite what you have anyway. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and even if you didn’t reach your goal for the night, you still did better than not writing at all.
Sometimes the Words Don’t Come
It’s a simple truth. Sometimes we get in our own way, or life gets in our way. Other times no inspiration, no muse seems to come to us, or the blank screen remains blank. Just remember to keep showing up. “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,” says Isabel Allende. You’ve built up a habit, but if you only write when you feel like it you’ll never be able to keep that habit or reach any goals you have in mind. Focus on the present and clear your mind. The time has come.
Want to know more? My portfolio is now COMPLETE, and you can find it here! You can find me in Ariel Chart, The Cedarville Review, Nailpolish Stories, Bluepepper, 50 Word Stories, The Aurora Journal, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, The Drabble, Anti-heroin Chic, Art of Autism, Your Daily Poem, Sanctuary Magazine, Six Sentences, Paragraph Planet, A Story in 100 Words, and Sledgehammer Lit. You can now also find my FREE microchap at Origami Poems Project, which I am also offering here.
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I am also a writer for Coffee House Writers! You can find my work under “Emma Foster” on their website.