Finding time to write

Finding time to write is always my biggest challenge. In fact, I have written about this topic many times but since it is always a concern, I figure what is once more. And I am not the only one with this problem. Many authors who don’t write full-time struggle with this same issue.

After all many of us have a job (to pay the bills) or have family (kids, partners who want our time) as well as our own needs such as sleep, eating or exercising. And then there is still writing and marketing things to do such as writing conferences, classes, books to read, our own books to market and author groups and social media to keep up with. The list of items that can keep you from writing goes on and on and on.

You need to squeeze in your writing when you have time. If you are a morning person, you may want to get up an hour early to write. Those night owls may find writing after everyone is in bed the perfect time.

Or you may have to find your time to write while at lunch or while your kids are at gymnastics or karate. (This is how I started out.) Basically, you need to carve out your time to write whether it is a little bit here and there or it means giving up watching TV, so you have time to write.

I admit that I have been bad about carving out a consistent time to write. I am very involved in two parent-teacher associations, work part-time at my husband’s law firm and take care of two kids (though they require less attention now that they are older.) Right now, I fit writing in where I can, but I do not consistently make time for writing.

This is something that I am hoping to change. My writing time needs to be scheduled. It needs to be placed at the top of my to-do-list rather than the pushed to the bottom as often happens.

My other problem is being distracted by other things – Facebook, YouTube, email. These things can easily eat into your writing time. (See my post “Focusing on Writing:  Cutting out time wasting activities”) So when you do set aside writing time, be ruthless. Cut off your access to the internet. Or if necessary, leave your house to write. Go to a coffee house or the library to write. (Check out this post on “Finding the Perfect Place to Write.”)Set your timer and write without stopping or getting up.

Sometimes it isn’t enough to just set aside time to write and hope you are productive. To keep you on track with finishing (and ultimately publishing) your novel, you may want to set a writing goal.

If you are still in the planning stage, your goal may be to develop one character a day or to create back story/history for your main character. If you are already writing, you may want to set a goal of a certain number of pages or words to write. Since you probably will not write the same amount each day, if you are setting a number of pages or words to have completed, consider setting your goal as a weekly goal rather than a daily one.

The main key to setting your goal is that it needs to be attainable, yet challenging. You want it to be something that you can actually reach. You don’t want to set a 25,000-word weekly goal if you can barely get 1000 written each day.

It helps to write down your goals and post them near your writing area. This can increase your motivation and remind you of your intentions. Or perhaps a reward system will keep you motivated. When you meet your goals, reward yourself by watching a movie, reading a book, eating ice cream or whatever you choose.

Whether it is setting aside time to write or establishing a writing goal, hopefully you will get some writing done. Hopefully, this post motivates you to carve out some time for your writing. If it is something you want to do, you need to make time for it. So go ahead and put it on your schedule right now.

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