July 4th, 2011 // 9:05 am @ Diane Johnstone
Between work and family commitments, it can be difficult to find the time to write. But if you really want to, you can learn to make time for it.
As a writer, it’s regular sessions that keep you going and help hone your skills. Don’t put off writing because you think you don’t have time. Even half an hour a couple of times a week is better than doing nothing for months because you don’t have several free days to dedicate to writing.
Some writers actually find they’re more productive if they only have a limited amount of time. Rather than getting distracted by everything else that needs doing, they shut the world out and focus on their work, writing in short, intense bursts.
Are you making excuses?
Sometimes, ‘I don’t have time’ is an excuse not to write. If you don’t try, then you can’t fail. It’s far easier to tell yourself you don’t have time than to take up the challenge. Most of us have been there at one time or another. That’s where setting yourself a goal can be helpful – whether it’s to write a story for a competition, to have something to read out at your writing group or to finish your novel.
How to make time for your writing
1. Work out when your best time for writing is. Are you a lark or an owl? Most of us have a preference, so work out what yours is then plan around that.
2. Set aside a time to write and stick to it. Some people find that putting a time down in their diary – like you would with a meeting or doctor’s appointment helps them. Make sure family members know that you’re working, and ask them not to disturb you (unless there’s an emergency).
3. Make more time. Try getting up a bit earlier and writing first thing in the morning, go to the park in your lunch break with your notebook and see what inspires you, or skip the Sunday papers and write instead.
4. Negotiate with your family – if they leave you in peace to write for a while, plan something fun with them later on.
5. Get rid of distractions. If you’ve only got a small slot of time, make sure you use it to write. Don’t be tempted to check your email or surf the net. If it helps, find somewhere else to write, like the local library, a quiet cafe, or a shed at the bottom of the garden.
6. Write even when you don’t feel like it. If you’ve set aside time but don’t feel particularly inspired, start anyway – you might be surprised what happens once you get going
7. Get motivated – setting yourself a specific goal could be all you need. Write it on a post-it note and stick it above your desk or wherever you usually work to remind you.