How to Find The Time To Write
Your Time and Effort Is Pivotal To Your Success As an Author
Around a month or two ago, I posted on the Writer’s Circle Facebook Page a question saying “What is the biggest problem you have when it comes to writing your book?” There was a myriad of issues that people struggled with. However, the most common was when it came to finding time throughout the day to write parts of their stories.
As I discussed one-on-one with various authors on how to tackle this problem, It became very clear to me that this isn’t a problem that has a one-size-fits-all solution like I thought it would have. Most of the people who write have other problems that prevent them from writing that I simply do not have.
95 percent of the people who I talked to were older than me, have a career and other endeavors outside of writing, and have two to four children along with a spouse who is just as preoccupied as they are.
Now, it may seem like I am out of my league when it comes to discussing this issue with those amazing individuals however, I believe I know how to fix this problem so that anyone with any sort of schedule can write and complete their book.
1. First and foremost, Get a Planner!
Whether it is an app on your phone or computer or a physical one where you can write things down by hand, you need a planner. In fact, I believe all writers need a planner to write down all the things they need to do throughout the day.
You should be planning your day from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed and have it done at least one week in advance. Now, of course, not everything will go according to what you write down in the planner. However, if you have a basic outline of your day planned out, then you can discover all the time that you have throughout your day to sit down and write.
When I say plan everything, I mean exactly that: PLAN EVERYTHING! When you wake up, when you make breakfast, when you drop the kids off at school, when you go to work, when you pick up the kids, when you take them to practice, when you cook dinner, etc. Plan out when an event or part of your day begins and when it ends. In this way, you can discover all of the free-time that you may have throughout your day to write your book.
It doesn’t necessarily matter how much time it is. If all your have is 10 or 20 minutes, then that is all you got and that is ok. The time doesn’t matter, It is what you do with that time that matters. If you are making progress in writing your book and contributing to it, that is what matters. Remember, any progress, no matter how small, is better than no progress at all.
2. You need to set priorities with what you do.
One of the bigger things that came up regarding time was the priorities that people have. Not just work, school, and family but volunteering, hobbies, and outside endeavors. I am not saying those are bad things. You can have your hobbies and do the things you want to do. However, if you are becoming agitated by the fact that you aren’t getting work done with your book because of those activities, then there is a problem.
Now, I will say this: Writing should NOT be priority number one in your life. Yes, this is a great career and useful for making money. However, there are things in life that is and always will be more important than writing a book. Those things could be your family, your religion, your spouse, your kids, your main job outside of writing. Always keep them first before writing.
In fact, what you should do, even before you plan out your day is to get your priorities in order. Figure out what it is that you value in your life and order them from what you prioritize most to what you prioritize least. This is something everyone should do in order to figure out what they value in life and what they should attend to.
When that is done, you can then figure out where writing a book should be in your life. If you are serious about writing your book, it won’t be as high as being with your family but maybe you can think “Do I really need to volunteer at that bake sale?” “Do I really need to play video games today?” “Should I watch that hockey game when I could be writing my book about a hockey team that goes from lovable losers to winners?”
After you figure out where your writing belongs in your life, then you can find out what you might need to do less in order for you to write more.
3. Set Boundaries With People and Be Away From Distraction
Probably the thing that I and everyone else that I helped with their problems had the most in common was the fact that when we were writing, there are many people that distract us, or we have distractions that surround us.
Some distractions are avoidable like television, video games, social media or YouTube videos while others, in the cases of many people I talked to, are unavoidable like a baby crying or 4-year-old banging on your door for help because your 7-year-old won’t stop trying to cut their hair with a pair of scissors.
When the avoidable distractions can be turned off or disconnected, the unavoidable ones are the ones that can cause more stress than writing the book itself. For this, you will need to reason with the people you live with or your loved ones. Let them know before you begin writing for the day, that this is the time where you need to write and they need to settle down and be quiet for a while. While this may not work with babies, this should work for the rest of the people you live with. If you have a spouse who can take care of the baby for a while, have him or her do so in order for you to get some writing done.
For the people outside of your house, let them know that if you write at a certain time that your phone will be off and calls are for emergencies only. Set your phone on mute without the vibrate on so that you can get things down and you will answer them when your writing time is over.
And that is is for how to manage your time. Are they any other time management skills that you found has worked for you? Leave them in the comment section or you can even write your own article and submit it for others to see.
I am Nicolas Smith and stay tuned for our next newsletter!