(This post is the first of three in a special series for aspiring authors)
One of the number one questions people ask me when they find out I've written multiple books is, "How do you find the time to write?" Then they usually offer up their own barriers to carving out time. They're too busy, they work full time, they spend all weekend at their kids sports events, etc.
And while these are some very valid obstacles they are also excuses. I believe in the old adage, where there is a will, there is a way. If you are an aspiring author you HAVE TO MAKE TIME TO WRITE. There is no way around it- no magical potion that can help you skip ahead. You've got to make it a priority and if you're committed and passionate, you'll find a way otherwise you'll find excuses because maybe you're actually afraid to write. There are several barriers that keep you from even attempting to write and I'll address those in my blog post next week. But this post is about carving out time to write. Here are some tried and true tips that even the "busiest" individual will find useful:
1. Set an appointment on your calendar- You can get up thirty minutes earlier each day or go to bed thirty minutes later and use that time to write. It doesn't seem like a lot of time but if you do it daily it adds up. You can also make time during your lunch hour a couple of days a week; instead of going to lunch, find a quiet conference room or walk to a nearby park or just sit in your car. Bring your laptop, tablet, phone or even note pad and capture your ideas, thoughts, dialogue, etc.
2. Maximize your time- Every day for almost an hour I am sitting in school pick up lines (two different schools). Some days I bring my laptop and while I'm waiting I write instead of scrolling through social media. If you are at the doctors office or dentist office or getting your oil changed. . .anywhere you will have a thirty minute to one hour or longer wait you can write! Use the Notes app on your phone or Evernote app, email yourself what you've written and just cut and paste it into your manuscript later.
3. Use your voice- Most smartphones have a function where you can talk into your phone and it will convert to text. If you are sitting in traffic or have a super long commute each morning, why not open a Note or email (set this up before you start driving!) and press the microphone icon and start talking. You can speak the words instead of writing them. It will seem weird at first like you're talking to yourself but after a while you'll find a comfortable rhythm. It's almost like you are recording your book in audio form. I will warn you that sometimes the voice command hears words WRONG but they are minor mistakes that you can go back and correct after the fact. Just be sure this isn't a distraction and that you are still paying attention to the road.
4. Find a writing buddy- If you have friends that you normally hang out with on the weekend, grabbing brunch, shopping or seeing a movie. . . find out if anyone in your friend group is also an aspiring writer, if so, instead of simply meeting for brunch make it a "working" brunch. Bring your laptops, tablets, phones or notepads and instead of catching up on the latest gossip just bask in the quite solitude while you work on your respective manuscripts.
5. NaNoWriMo- (National Novel Writing Month) Although this only takes place once a year in November, it is a good way to hold yourself accountable. I wrote the bulk of my first book by participating. Participants sign up and make a commitment to write a whopping 50,000 words for the entire month of November! Let me tell you it's no easy feat, you basically have to be committed to writing 1,667 words per day to reach this goal. But the feeling (and bragging rights) of being a NaNoWriMo "winner" is amazing! Not to mention your book is practically written at the end of it.
What are some of your tried and true tips for finding time to write?
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”