I am often asked how I find the time to write. The question is usually followed by a comment about how they would love to write but they don’t have the time.
For most of us there are a plethora of competing factors for our time: family, partners, day jobs, pets, hobbies, sports and study just to name a few.
Finding time to meet your writing goals can seem like an impossible task.
You have set the goal, you want to write. The only way to reach it is to make the time to take action on it. This was something I learnt the hard way. I was never going to reach my goal of becoming a writer if I did not take the time to sit down and write. For writers write, don’t they?
What if you started with a little writing time? Just 15 minutes a day?
But that isn’t long enough to do anything, I hear you whine.
And you may find that once you have established your 15 minutes it can grow into more and more time.
Find 15 minutes in your day:
Firstly you need to determine how you spend your time and see if you can find just 15 minutes.
This could be as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier, or staying up 15 minutes later. While you commute to work on the tram/train/bus, during lunch time, while you wait for the washing machine to finish, or the kids’ footy game to get underway.
Could you negotiate some time? Perhaps while the kids are doing their homework, or your partner takes them to the park. What about when the house is quiet, while your husband is at his yoga class or by simply turning off the TV?
Look at how you are spending your time now and find a 15 minute gap in your day.
Book that time for writing:
By making an appointment with yourself you are more likely to follow through. I suggest booking the same time every day for the coming week. Write it into your diary or on the fridge. Somewhere you will see it.
You have planned the time, now plan what you will write in that time. Having a plan makes it easier to start and means that you will better utilise your writing time.
It does not have to be detailed, a line or sentence is a great place to start. It could be a note in your diary next to your writing time, or a couple of dot points on a scrap page or notebook.
Create a space to spend your booked writing time in:
Find somewhere comfortable and distraction free for your writing. Surround yourself with inspiration and all you need to write. If you write in a café or at the library then ensure you have all you need with you (book and pen and notes, or laptop or the like).
On day one at your booked 15 minutes take your plan and sit down and write for the full 15 minutes. It does not have to be perfect. It does not even have to be good. When you reach the end or your writing time, take thirty seconds to make a note about what you would like to write in your 15 minutes tomorrow. Next day you are ready to go.
Go out there and try it.
Give it a go every day for a week.
Then review. Think about what you did and how it worked for you.
It wasn’t so hard, was it?
If it didn’t work so well, why not? Did you need a better plan, did you just stress that it wasn’t long enough? Do you need to find a different place to write?
Make your appointment times for the next week – would you make the same time, try another or do you think you could do a little longer.
Experiment to find what works best for you.
I am a strong believer in tracking the time spent writing, the time of day, where etc to help you work out the best writing for you (which I picked up from 2000-10000).
I started by writing when I could. Now I block out periods of my day for writing (around everything else). I have targets but I find I am meeting them quicker than I use to and so I upped the target. Push yourself a little because you might be surprised by just how much you can achieve.
Everyone is different. Progress is better than perfection.
Start with 15 minutes and find out just how much that progresses your writing goals.