- Books, Literature, and Writing
Writing Takes Time and You Must Make the Time
Time Is on My Side
One of the comments I receive most goes something like this: I don’t know where you find the time to do all the things you do. Do you ever sleep?
Well, answering the second question first, yes, I do sleep, seven hours per night, and I am feeling quite rested this morning and ready to tackle the first of those questions. Where do I find the time?
The question was raised because I appear to be a prolific writer. On the writer’s site HubPage I wrote 500 articles in 500 days, an accomplishment that left some of my peers shaking their heads and wondering if I was some sort of magician. In addition I write SEO content for eight companies, maintain a blog and submit articles to magazines and newspapers and oh, yes, I am working on two novels.
So, where do I find the time?
The Reality of My Situation
First, consider the fact that writing is a full-time job, and passion, for me. I get up each morning at six, begin writing at seven and continue until four each day. I have the luxury to do that because I am semi-retired and have no little children crawling between my legs while I sit at the computer. My wife works part-time so it’s just me and the three mutts at home each day.
In other words, I have a huge advantage over many writers who must raise children, run errands, work a second job or take care of aging parents. By the very nature of my living circumstances I have more time than most of you have to devote to writing.
Still, I do get a lot done, so let’s take a look at a couple points that I think are very important if time is an issue for you.
The Stones Understood
Yes, It Is a Job
Whether you are a full-time freelance writer or a part-time writer just writing a couple hours per day, if you want to be successful then you need to treat writing as a job.
Think about that for a second. If you were at a place of business doing your job as a clerk or accountant or whatever, you would not rush home to do the laundry or grocery shopping while you were on the job, right? You would not take personal phone calls and chat with friends for hours, and you would not turn on the television to watch the latest episode of your favorite soap opera….and yet that is exactly what many writers do.
Distractions are a way of life, and distractions can derail a writer so fast it will make their head spin and leave them wondering where all the time went to.
My writing time is my writing time. Period! It is not negotiable. My friends and family know that from 7-4 I am writing. If they need me to run errands or do chores then they let me know in advance and I do those things after four in the afternoon or on weekends. Never during my writing time.
If you are a full-time writer then treat your craft like a job. If you are a part-time writer, then schedule writing time each and every day and let nothing come between you and that writing time.
Do you have enough time to write?
And Speaking of Schedules
I am as organized a human being as you are likely to find. Some would call me anal but I prefer not to speak to those people. J
The point is that I have a schedule for the entire week and I rarely deviate from it. There are specific things I do each Monday, each Tuesday¸ and breaking that down further there are specific things I do in hour sets each day.
I do this because it is so very easy to get distracted or sidetracked. I’ll be writing along and then switch to Facebook to see if there are any comments, and then emails, and then, and then, and then, and pretty soon two hours have been wasted, and I don’t have two hours to waste.
So I print out my daily schedule, tape it above the computer, and follow it religiously. And you should too!
Today is Monday. For me, Mondays are article days for HubPages. I will write five articles today and that will take care of my weekly contributions to HubPages.
Tuesdays find me writing for customers until 10:30 and then submitting articles to magazines the rest of the day.
Wednesdays, customers in the morning and then submitting articles to newspapers in the afternoon.
Thursday, customers in the morning and then work on my novels in the afternoon.
Fridays, work on my novels in the morning and then tie up loose ends and pursue other ideas in the afternoon.
As long as I have my schedule printed out, and as long as I follow it, then I get everything done. My customers are happy, my followers are happy and I am happy.
But There’s Not Enough Time
M. Scott Peck
Well of course there is. Saying there isn’t enough time to write is nonsense now isn’t it?
The fact of the matter is that there is always time to write, but often times people choose not to. We make choices during a day, and those choices affect the amount of time we spend on activities. If we are not writing then we are choosing to do something else. Pretty simple really!
Of course there are things that cannot be ignored. Taking care of the kids, running errands, cleaning the house or just our full-time jobs….but….there are also hours during a day when we choose to do some other activity other than writing. We choose to watch some mindless television, or we choose to go for a walk, or we choose to visit with neighbors or whatever. There is down time for practically every writer reading this article….in fact, you are reading this article during down time. Nobody is forcing you to read this article, so you could stop reading it and actually spend time writing.
And if you have read this far then that’s great, because I’m basically done and I got what I wanted out of this deal. LOL
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So There You Have It
Sorry folks, but there are no huge secrets here. There is no magical potion that will give you more hours in the day. I do not do this with smoke and mirrors and slight of hand.
I accomplish what I accomplish by treating my writing like a job, following a schedule and making time for my writing. Three simple rules that I follow daily and so far they have worked quite well for me.
Take what you need and leave the rest for other writers to use. Your circumstances are different from mine, so take some of this, adjust it to your own situation, and fly with it.
As always, thanks for stopping by and best wishes on your writing endeavors. You are all greatly appreciated.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”