Are You a Part-Time Author? How to Find Enough Time to Write
Remember that Every Minute You Save is a Minute Created
Does this sound like you? You have several ideas stagnating in your mind waiting to become short stories or books; however, you are so busy that you never manage to transform those ideas into words.
(c) Kathy Steinemann
Making time to write might not be as difficult as it seems. Here are a few ideas that will help you find or create time for writing.
- Establish priorities. Do you really need to spend an hour playing solitaire on your computer? Is it necessary to check Facebook and Twitter a dozen times every day? In establishing priorities, don't give up the important things in life like time with your family; and if you do, be prepared to deal with feelings of guilt that will sabotage your writing efforts.
- Set up a private writing area where you have no distractions. It should be comfortable and well-lit, with reference materials close by.
- Be enthusiastic! This means writing about things you love. Enthusiasm about any project makes it easier and you are less likely to procrastinate.
- Take public transit instead of a vehicle to work and write with a laptop or tablet while you travel.
- If you are a non-fiction author, write blogs or articles that you can later compile into a book. You will gain a sense of accomplishment (and maybe even an adrenaline rush) with each small task completion - and it will make the larger project seem less daunting.
- Always have a notepad, cellphone, tablet, or dictation device with you to record ideas and inspirations. Take a copy of your latest book with you everywhere you go.
- Jot down ideas on your smartphone while you are standing in line at the bank or supermarket. Store the ideas as memos or email them to yourself.
- With cloud computing services now allowing you to store and edit documents online, it is easier than ever to access a work in progress no matter where you are. Set up an account at Amazon, Google, or Microsoft and explore the possibilities.
- Relax a little when it comes to chores like mowing the lawn or vacuuming. Let things go for a couple of days longer than usual to free up some time.
- Say "No" occasionally when someone asks you to do something. Most people know the axiom, "If you want something done, ask a busy person." The request for your help recognizes that you are a busy person who accomplishes things. Yes, it is a compliment, but it is also a time killer!
- Do you work on crossword puzzles or read a book in the bathroom? Tablets are small and will go anywhere you do. A bathroom is quiet and you can work undisturbed.
- Keep a notepad on your bedside table. If you have a great idea in the middle of the night or a dream that sparks a storyline, write it down immediately.
- Do not obsess about making every sentence and paragraph perfect on the first draft. Form your ideas into words and leave the fine tuning for later. This saves time. Remember that every minute you save is a minute created.
- Sacrifice a television show here and there. Do you really want to watch everything recorded on your PVR? Limit yourself to a certain number of hours per week and spend the time you save at the keyboard.
- Create a routine. If you establish 10 minutes every morning as a writing block, with one day off weekly, that opens up an hour per week. How many 10 minute blocks can you set aside in a single day?
- Set a goal. Can you write 1000 words a day? That is 6000 words per six-day week. You could have the first draft of a 100,000-word novel completed in four months at that rate.
- Try not to work on two separate projects during the same time period. It is too easy to mix up plots and details.
- When you get bogged down and hit an impasse, leave your writing and do something like going for a walk or watching a half-hour comedy on TV. The break will give you a chance to refocus and you will work more effectively when you return.
- Don't overdo it! If you find yourself obsessing and burying yourself in your work, you might actually be wasting effort. Sometimes you need to step back, evaluate your progress, and take a break. Your brain functions better when it can occasionally relax and recoup.
(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.
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