Let’s face it, in this fast-paced world time seems to be speeding up beyond control. Days seem to be getting shorter as we try and pack as much into them as possible. There’s no time for lazing about, not if you want to keep up with everything.
But time is also precious, and it’s one of the only commodities we have complete control over. Trying to keep up with the never-ending rat-race can be demanding and, worst of all, it can leave you with very little time to do the things you want to do; the things you enjoy. Like writing.
So many people find writing therapeutic. They love to see a blank page fill up with glorious words, sentences and stories. But for most it remains a pipedream because, well, there just aren’t enough hours in a day, right?
Wrong. Everyone has 24 hours a day to do with as they wish, though it often doesn’t seem like it when your successful friend has managed to churn out two chapters of her latest novel, have five client meetings, and juggle three children all between the hours of nine and five.
Here’s the secret. It’s possible to carve out some time in your day for writing regardless of how busy you are. Here’s how:
Cut it Down into Manageable Chunks
Everything is so much easier to digest in bite-size chunks. Instead of thinking about the entire novel you want to write in the next year which can, let’s face it, be completely overwhelming, try breaking it down into manageable chunks.
Rather than telling yourself you want “80,000 words written by this time next year”, try saying, “I want 2,000 words written by next weekend”, or, “I want to have planned out the first chapter by Thursday”.
Giving yourself these smaller projects stops that dreaded feeling of being overwhelmed, and, when you’ve completed each little step, you can tick it off and watch as you progress (which in itself is a huge motivator).
Write on the Go
If you have a busy lifestyle with a demanding job, a thriving social life, or a family, the chances are you’ll spend large chunks of your day in transit or, for the better use of a term, wasting time. Whether that’s on your commute, when you’re cooking dinner, or whilst you’re waiting for a friend to turn up for drinks.
This time is crying out to be used. They may not seem like large chunks of time, but every little helps and it can all add up over the space of a week or a month. Make sure you have a notebook with you at all times, or download a notes app for your phone, and use these spare moments to jot down bullet points or write out a few paragraphs.
Even if you’re not physically writing, you can use this time to think about writing. Plot out some characters for your novel or generate a few blog post ideas whilst you’re on the move.
Experiment With Your Schedule
Most people have a strict routine that’s almost impossible to break. But how did that routine come about in the first place? Is there a reason for doing things that way, in that order?
If there’s room for it, play around a bit with your schedule to see if you can clear up an hour or so for writing. Maybe you could get up half an hour earlier, or maybe you could go to the gym in the mornings instead of the evenings.
Spend a couple of weeks juggling things around and see what kind of results you get. Once you start habitually carrying out your new routine, it’ll stick in no time at all.
Make Writing a Priority
So many people miss out on precious writing time because they don’t see it as a priority. Sure, there might be more pressing things that you need to attend to, but if you always push your writing time down your to-do list it’ll soon become a distant memory.
Start thinking about writing as a priority in your schedule. You wouldn’t miss out on your morning shower, would you? Or skip calling your mum on the weekend? As soon as you make something a priority, it’s difficult to not do it. All it takes is a change in mindset.
Collaborate With a Friend
Do you have a friend who loves to write? Or maybe you’re part of a writing community online that’s filled with other likeminded people? Use the power of others to push you forwards with your writing.
Use each other to keep on track, whether it’s through meeting up once a week to discuss progress or a quick email every other day to encourage each other to keep up the great work. You’d be amazed at how effective it can be when there’s someone else counting on you and believing in you.
Writing is notoriously lonely, so it can be a great motivator to have someone there to bounce ideas off and discuss the craft with.
Make a Designated Writing Space
Clutter and mess do not make a good writing environment. Neither does the comfort of a bed or a sofa which is usually reserved for watching films on. To get your brain in the right space to write, you need to have somewhere you can go that’s solely for writing. Be it your local café or a desk under the stairs.
You can slowly start to train your brain to associate that place with writing, so the words will come quicker and easier.
Finding the time to write is at the top of a lot of people’s lists, though the act of writing itself comes in towards the bottom. Why? Because life is busy and there are so many other things to be doing. With these tips, though, you’ll be on your way to carving out regular writing time regardless of how busy your schedule is.