This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
Disclaimer 1 – Apologies if I’m telling you things you already know.
Disclaimer 2 – There is a good chance I don’t take my own advice a lot of the time. Do as I say, not as I do.
Still here? Sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
I’m going to to make an assumption before I start. If you’re reading this then, like me, you’re more likely to be a part-time writer. By which I mean that writing is not our primary occupation and that we’re doing whatever we can to fit the writing in wherever we can.
So, you have a day job to pay the bills (maybe even more than one), you want to have a personal life and you want to write. Plus there’s that annoying thing called sleep. Now, how do you find the time for it all?
This is something I frequently struggle with, and I doubt I’m the only one. So I thought I’d try and share some suggestions that have worked for me.
The first thing and I realize this is beyond your control a little; if you live with someone, make sure they know what you’re about and hope that they understand and have patience with you.
Next, you have to maximize the time you do have. Making yourself a schedule can really help here but since I think another BlogHop participant is covering that one, and probably better than I could, I’ll leave that for now. Instead, I’ll focus on where you can steal back some writing time.
If you’re normally an early riser anyway, then try getting up a little earlier and getting some writing in then. Depending on your schedule this may not amount to much but remember every little helps.
Lunch time is a big place for me to personally get some words down. I work in an office and I have a minimum of an hour lunch, which I’m expected to take. Often it’s more since I arrive early to start work before a lot of distractions start. But do I need the whole hour? Of course not. At the most, I need 15-20 minutes to actually eat and the rest can be given over to writing.
There are also other opportunities that can crop up from time to time. For example, last night while waiting for an event to start, I was scribbling away in the foyer. Or, right now, I’m writing some of this post while waiting to get a tire on my car replaced. Any time where you’re having to sit and wait on your own; doctors, dentists etc. is time where you can get some extra writing in. Just another reason to have a means of writing to hand at all times.
In the evenings, it can be difficult since you want to spend time with your family. This is where the understanding I mentioned earlier comes in. I’d like to think if they know how important writing is to you, they’ll be happy to give you some space.
If you’re giving up family time then it’s only right that you make the most of it. Which means eliminating as many distractions as possible. No TV, no internet rabbit holes to lose yourself in. And switch your phone off. Yes, I know it’s a great tool but it’s also incredibly easily to find yourself using it to check Twitter, Facebook, email or playing the latest version of Candy Crush and losing out on the time you could have been using to continue your current WIP.
When possible, the ideal solution to this would be to have a room, minus all of the above, where you can just shut yourself in and work for the duration. If this isn’t an option, then put your headphones on and get some music going. Basically, whatever you can do to remove as much extraneous stimulus as possible and immerse yourself in what you’re writing.
And when sleep does overcome and you crawl into bed, I’d suggest having a notebook or scratchpad by your bedside. There’s never any telling what might occur to you as you’re dozing or what might spark in your dreams.
That’s all for just now. Be sure to check out other #AuthorToolboxBlogHop posts and if you need help finding them, a list can be found in Raimey Gallant’s initial post here.