The second article in a four part series.
“Where do you find the time?” A popular question for writers. The truth is, no one ever “finds” time. You can’t look under your couch cushions and produce half an hour. If you need more time, you have to make it.
Discover Where You Spend Your Time
Write down hour by hour what you do in a day. Where are you spending your time? Work, sure. Chores, check. Where else? Could you have passed on or postponed something on your list to write? Rejigging your routine and/or your social life may seem like a sacrifice at first, but once you start writing you won’t be thinking about what you could be doing. You’ll be focusing too hard on what you are doing. Writing.
Procrastinate… With Chores
Go ahead. Put off until tomorrow what you could have done today. This includes grocery shopping (get some take-out for a change), cleaning your bathroom (if you’re like me you procrastinate on that one already so good for you!) and laundry (your underwear is good for one more day… um, maybe not). There are plenty of things we think we have to do RIGHT NOW but can actually wait. (And hey, if you have time after an hour or so of writing and want to scrub your toilet, be my guest)
Say Goodbye To Your TV
I hardly ever watch tv, you say. Are you sure? I bet you watch a little. Write instead. It’s tough if you watch popular shows. Tell your friends and co-workers not to spoil things. You’ll catch it on net-flicks or you’ll buy the dvds. Right now you have to write.
First Thing’s First
I’m going to preface this by saying I tried this and failed. Miserably. I can stay up until two in the morning with ease but ask me to get up at seven am and I’m done for.
That doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. A lot of writers are morning people or at least “I can manage to crawl out of bed without feeling like death” kind of people. By writing first thing in the morning you are telling the universe who you are and what is important to you. It’s also a great way to whet your appetite. As little as fifteen minutes of writing in the morning can help prevent hours of procrastination at night (more on that later).
There will be days where you’re sick as a dog, where out of town family members need looking after or when your day job is making high demands on you. Don’t chastise yourself for not writing. Forgive. And then get back to work.
And Now The Problem No One Ever Talks About… Having Too Much Time…
A three day weekend. A staycation. So much extra time! And what do you do with it? You shop. You watch tv. You bake. Other artists don’t seem to have this problem. Musicians, painters, dancers, they just get to work. As vulnerable as artists are, there seems to be something extra terrifying about putting words down on paper. Do whatever it is you need to do to get writing. Read inspirational quotes. Do a stream of consciousness writing exercise. Visualize a finished draft.
For those hard core procrastinators, I would like to make it clear what does and doesn’t count as writing…
Does NOT Count
– Organizing your home office
– Buying new stationary
– Reading how-to books (another blog article on that later)
– Checking/answering your email
– Checking facebook
– Almost anything to do with the internet
– Purposeful daydreaming
– Brainstorming on paper
I’m not sure where blogging falls in this. I’m going to count Dee Tales as writing but a regular blog post… I have to admit that although I’m pretty diligent about working on my novel every day, sometimes, just sometimes, it’s just easier finish a post.