How many times have you thought to yourself, ‘I have a great story, now if only I had time to write it!’? You’re not alone. It’s something most writers — at least those who haven’t made it big yet — struggle with. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer on Medium or an aspiring novel author.
Carving out time to write in a day spent juggling work, commuting, family responsibilities, chores, and just life in general can seem overwhelming and even impossible. But there are ways to make time and space in your day to let the story flow.
1. Take the Pressure Off
It’s easy to beat yourself up at the end of the day because you, yet again, didn’t get any writing done. Stop. It’s easy, but not helpful. You are human and life happens. Thinking like this only strengthens negative associations in your mind that if you don’t write a certain amount or in a certain way, you’re lying to yourself, just another wannabe hack, but no writer. It’s a waste of energy, and brain power which could be used to create. So, take some pressure off.
2. Stay Accountable
Now, taking the pressure off is not a free pass to get no writing done and be OK with it. Instead you need to stay accountable by setting reasonable goals. Did you know that if you write a page a day, in 365 days you’ll have written 365 pages? Or if you write 200 words every day in 365 days you’ll have 73,000 words? Set a reasonable goal, and track your progress.
3. Look for time
Maybe it’s your lunch break at work or the precious 15 minutes of silence you get before waking the family up, but we all have moments of hidden time in the day. These are moments that you may fill with checking social media, cleaning, or other mundane tasks. Spend some time figuring out how you spend your time and hone in on those moments. Use them to write. The dust bunnies can wait.
4. Write Daily
Once you’ve found those hidden moments, make a commitment to yourself to write daily. The sporadic writer knows how hard it is to jump back into the plot when you’ve put your manuscript down for a week or two. Write daily and show up. Even if you only write a sentence during your allotted time, guess what? You wrote a sentence!
This is where tracking progress really helps. Say you’ve decided to write 200 words a day while your kids do their homework. Let’s say on Day 1, the words just flow and you’ve written 500 words but on Day 2, the kiddo needs help with their homework so you don’t get any writing done. It’s OK (remember life happens). Between Day 1 and Day 2, you hit the quota, with 100 words to spare.
5. Get creative
A creative writer needs to be creative? Duh. But part of getting creative may be re-thinking the process. If sitting down at a desk at home, dedicating an hour to your novel doesn’t work, use anytime and anyplace to write. Riding the subway? Whip out your phone and open the Notes app. Waiting in the car at the kid’s soccer game? Scribble the story on napkins. Stuck in traffic? Grab a device, hit record and tell the story (bonus points if your device has an app that can transcribe as you speak).
It sounds cliché, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Is it easy to buy into the excuse that you have no time to write. But it’s worthwhile to invest in your craft and yourself to see past the excuses and make the time to write.