Finding Time to Write

It’s a constant battle – finding time to write.  I have to remind my family and friends, writing is not a hobby like  scrap-booking or knitting.  Writing is what motivates me, what I constantly think about, and what drives me.  Stories, plot lines and ideas literally pop into my head all day long.  I have found myself laying awake at two in the morning with an idea I have to write down.  I have a solution to this issue, but that’s not what this blog is about.

Most of the time writing though has to take third, fourth and sometimes last place in life.  It’s easy to push it aside and let all the little things in life take over and before I know it my plot lines, ideas and that new story I just had to write are covered in a layer of dust and surrounded by cobwebs.  It’s a constant battle between my career, family, daily responsibilities and writing.

I follow quite a few blogs and read several trade magazines that mention this same problem.  I am not the only writer that struggles with finding time to write.  Here are a few things I’ve  learned:

1) Write every morning.  Several authors call these morning pages.  Just write for 10 – 15 minutes.  I have a spiral notebook and pen I keep in a drawer near my kitchen table.  It’s important to have your supplies ready, the less distractions the better.  While having my morning coffee and toast I write for 10 minutes.  You can use a prompt tool such as the story cubes I mentioned in a previous blog entry, or just write.  This time though is not meant to be structered, it’s what I like to call free-writing.  Don’t worry about grammer, spelling or structure.  Just write for ten minutes – that’s it.  Oh, and most importantly – don’t go back and read these pages!  Do not second guess yourself – just let the words flow.  For more about morning pages I suggest picking up a copy of “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron.  Julia has a great web-site too:  Julia Cameron Live.

2) I can’t tell you how many times I have read this:  set designated time for your writing.  I have a day planner and I have designated Tuesday and Thursday evenings as my writing time.  I do not make appointments on those nights, I record any TV shows I might want to watch, and I turn my phone off.    I shut my office door (which my family knows means do not disturb unless fire or blood is involved), slip on my headphones, light several candles and go to work.

3) Set weekly goals for your writing.  Whatever works best for you: number of pages or length of time.  I personally use time.  For me if I set myself up to write 10 pages and I get 10 pages done in 15 minutes (I wish) I will stop writing as soon as I reach my goal.  Remember to include your morning pages in this goal.

4) Get rid of time wasters.   You have your designated time for writing – use it for writing only.  Don’t use it as time to read your e-mail, research time, write your blog or update your facebook status with “I am busy writing, don’t bother me.”

I would love to hear your ideas.  How and when do you find time to write?  I am thinking of setting up several “retreats” for myself.   Where I get out of my house, maybe a nearby hotel, for a weekend and just write.  Anyone done this?




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1 Response to Finding Time to Write

  1. As I read the book this time, I realized again that productivity is not just about effective time management it

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