How to find the time to write

Typists working hard during 1915.

Fitting writing around a hectic schedule can be as much of a challenge as the work itself.

I have a full-time job, a blog to keep up with, classes to attend and an active social life. Yet, this month I hit my book’s 10,000 word milestone. I’ve been working on it for 3 months, so at this rate I should have a full draft ready within a year.

The same tips have been equally useful for writing blog posts and articles.

How did I do it?

Planning

When it came to my book, I used to love free writing – any other method looked stifling. This was odd, because in my other life as a journalist/copywriter I plan meticulously.

Then I met Sam Hawksmoor of Hackwriters who suggested I create a road map for my book in order to improve the plot and writing style. I’ll never look back.

Not only does a brief outline of the plot (I’m talking a single A4 sheet of bullet points, here) mean you have a clear idea of where the story is going, it also saves a lot of time. It enables you to jump straight into the story from wherever you left off, or even jump around within the timeline, writing whichever part you feel you can manage at the time.

Habit

As I said in my post on overcoming writer’s block, writing becomes more productive when it’s a habit. You’ll find you no longer have to get into the ‘zone’ – it’ll start to happen naturally.

So, pick a time that’s great for you and try to stick to it. It doesn’t have to be long – if all you can spare is half an hour then that’s better than nothing.

Keep it short

Although the odd writing marathon feels fantastic, they are far harder to fit in around your life, so keep it quick. Even half an hour of writing a few times a week will make a big difference, without causing you stress.

Lunch breaks

If you’re lucky enough to be able to take a lunch break, these can be the perfect time to lose yourself in your writing. Find a comfy spot to sit with your notebook and set a timer for half an hour or so. Then, once a week/fortnight sit and type them up and watch how quickly your work grows – it’s a fantastic feeling!

Don’t have a lunch break? If you’re an early bird, then try getting up half an hour early and have a quick writing session.You could also pick a set time each evening and set an alarm so that you know it’s time to start.

Learn what motivates you

You might be motivated by the act of writing itself, or maybe its the feeling of achievement when you publish a post or hit a word count. Either way, knowing what pushes you to keep writing is essentialĀ for keeping up the habit.

When you hit a milestone, consider giving yourself a little reward. It could be your favourite chocolate bar or a trip to see a film. The main thing is to keep yourself going when fitting in writing seems tough.

Summary

Writing a book or a blog when you have a busy lifestyle doesn’t have to be stressful, and there’s plenty of tricks you can use for maximising your time:

  • Try to plan in advance
  • Set regular writing times in order to form a habit
  • Keep sessions short
  • Use free time such as lunch breaks
  • Learn what motivates you

Like my blog? You can follow me on Twitter atĀ @jrcopywriting

 

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