Making Time to Write

Last week, we were discussing Writing Resolutions to start the new year. At this point in January, everyone is still bright-eyed, optimistic and hungry to follow through on their resolutions. But what happens when reality sets in? You know, when "life" gets in the way and torpedoes your efforts, forcing you to skip a day of journaling, not posting on your blog for a month, making no progress on the novel, etc. During any worthwhile venture, there's always going to be a setback or that threatens the survival of your goal. The biggest issue for most people will be the lack of time. But, we're here to talk about that and offer some tips on how to "make" time for writing.

While scientists somewhere are working on a way to warp back in time, we've all got to face the reality of the 24 hour day, of which we selfishly squander 8 hours (if you're lucky) laying unconscious. Writing takes time. The simple pleasure of putting pen to paper, journaling your thoughts and ideas, recapping your day or drafting the next section of your novel all take time. Depending on how fast you write / type, it can take quite a length of time. If you are looking to fit more writing into your schedule this year, chances are you didn't originally have a large block of time that you spent twiddling your fingers. We've all got a lot going on in life. Kids, job, social life, sports, entertainment, you name it. Here are some tips that I've found helpful in wedging time intensive activities in an already busy schedule.

Prioritize - Take an inventory of the time you spend on activities during the week. Catching up on Game of Thrones? Lower your usage of Netflix or the DVR to add quiet time for writing. Kids running wild around the house until late at night? Have a cup of coffee (or tea) an hour before they nod off so you can have energy to stay up and write. Work and commuting taking up most of the day? Take a bag lunch and write on your break or on the bus/train ride home. If this goal is important to you, prioritize it above other activities. Just make sure it doesn't trump basic necessities like sleeping, eating or going to work in the first place.

Make it a Habit - It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to start a habit. Really work through the kinks that first month and your brain should be set on autopilot to the point that it will feel odd if/when you miss a day of writing. The beauty about writing is that it doesn't take a whole lot to accomplish the act - just a pen and paper will do in most occasions. Keep a small notebook around with you to catch ideas, capture inspiration or jot notes when you have downtime to further cement the writing mindset.

Accountability - Tell others about your resolution to write more. Tell them what you plan on doing with your writing. The more we make our intentions public, the more we feel obliged to stick with the plan. We're more apt to let ourselves down if it is only one person we are disappointing. If others are observing, we take it into consideration when times get tough and usually press onward. This is your safety net for when you feel like giving up. Having a friend that also likes to write or has a similar resolution would definitely help.

Make Smaller, Short-Term Goals - A whole novel is not going to be finished in one day. Depending on the scope of your writing resolution, it may take the whole year to complete. Break apart your goal in to smaller and smaller chunks until you are left with milestones that mark progress every few weeks or so. This will act as a flexible timeline to make sure you are on-target with your goal and not falling behind.

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