Managing Your Time for Writing
One of the most common complaints I hear from writers is finding the time to write. “If I had more time, I’d write more.” That seems to be the biggest setback for most of us. Unfortunately, it’s all too true. Time is a valuable commodity for some of us, and it’s difficult to find with our busy lives and schedules. Making time for your writing might be difficult, but I think you’ll find it to be the one thing you really should find a way to do.
How can you balance your time when you have so much that you have to get done and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, already? Well, there’s not really a simple answer for that. Prioritizing things can help but when you have everything piling up, everything becomes a priority. When you look at the things you have to do, the first thing to go is the things we want to do. Wants and needs are totally different. For example, I want to win the lottery but I need to pay my car payment. My wife might argue that we need to win the lottery. That certainly would simplify a lot of issues in life, but until that happens, you still have to do those things just to get by.
I know, so far I’ve asked questions and haven’t really provided any solutions. I’m getting there.
There are a number of things you can do that can take the burden off for the little things. I can’t fix your day to day issues, but I can tell you that a little bit of planning ahead can at least alleviate some of it. If you pack your lunch for work, prepare them for the week at one time and refrigerate them for quick packing. If you commute to work, look at Google Maps to see if you’re taking the shortest route to and from work. Saving even five minutes can make a world of difference.
Make a list. I have a big dry erase board I put things on and either erase them or draw a line through them when they’re done. If you can do two things at the same time, so much the better. Combine all the errands you have to run into one trip. It can save gas and cut down on the amount of time spent on them.
Make a schedule. If you can work in an hour for exercise, then you can work in an hour for writing. Schedule the things that you need to get done, in advance. Know what has to be done and set aside the time to get it done, quickly and efficiently. If you schedule time to clean the house, instead of setting aside the afternoon or evening towards cleaning the entire house, maybe break it down into smaller tasks. Monday, clean the bathroom. Tuesday, do the laundry. Wednesday, clean the kitchen. Things like that. You can break down what takes hours all at one time to fifteen minutes a day, as you get the chance.
Another thing you can do is invest in the Talk and Type software. There are about a dozen different kinds to choose from. Find one you like and dictate your writing while you do other tasks. Dictate a chapter while you clean. Dictate a chapter while you’re on the treadmill. While on your lunch break. Talk and Type software might just be the little time-saver you’ve been looking for. Even if you can only do a page here and there, it’s more than doing nothing.
My point is, find some time for the writing. If that’s where your passion is, you have to find some time for it. You won’t ever feel complete unless you’re taking a little time for yourself. Whether that’s writing or taking a trail ride on your bike, you have to take some time for yourself. If you don’t, other aspects of your life will begin to suffer. If you find time for yourself, even if it’s only a little, you’ll notice a huge change in yourself. You’re outlook will improve as will your mood. You’ll feel happier.
I once read that Stephen King sets a goal of one thousand words per day, every day. While that might seem like a lot, it’s really less than two pages. Hell, I’ve put in over seven hundred words just while you were reading to this point in the blog. You can find the time.
Investing in yourself, even if it’s only a few minutes a day pays huge dividends. Not just for your writing but for your personal health. Who knows, if you feel better you might discover that you have more energy and some of the things that seemed so insurmountable might not be that difficult, after all. Take that time for you.
There have been times in my life when I stopped writing for days or even weeks at a time. Looking back, those were times when I felt my worst. Until I started finding the time to write, I didn’t feel complete. There were days when I could only write on days off. I’ve worked long hours and struggled to find time to even sleep. It’s definitely not easy. I can totally relate, but I also know that find that time is absolutely worth the effort.
I know that we all struggle. I know that better than most. Life is a constant battle pitting the needs versus the wants. If you can find a way to supply the needs, then you might find that you still have a little left over for the wants. When you take that time for yourself, I think you might find that there is still joy in this life. It might be small, at first, but it will grow. Just like the word count on that novel. No one ever said you have to have that book done today. Unless you’re writing for a publishing company that gives you a deadline, but that’s a different story. You don’t have to make every day a sprint to the finish. Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy every step of the way, because even the dark times help to make us who we are.
A wise man once told me that we have a choice with every experience. We can allow it to make us bitter or to make us better. I choose better. Take some joy for yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. The things we have to do will always be there. The things we want for ourselves should never fall by the wayside. It might take some work, but nothing worth having ever comes easy. Find time for your writing. Find your joy.
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