Would you love to write or to write more often? Perhaps, you already have an idea in mind for what you’d like to write about, be it a book, poetry or short story. You may feel moved to inspire people, entertain or inform them with your words and insights. But no matter how good you feel about the prospect of writing, finding the time to write isn’t easy. Life is busy and you don’t know how to fit it in. The following tips from my years of writing will help you to find the time to write.
Tip 1: Make changes to your weekly routine
If your life is full of activity, you will need to take something out of it, to allow something new in. To make progress with writing, it is important to do it at least weekly. If you can afford more time, better still. If you write on the same day every week, it will form a stronger habit in you. Also, people around you will recognise that this is your writing time and allow you the space to do this with minimal interruption.
When working out a writing schedule, jot down all that you do in an ordinary week. Make an unbiased assessment of how your time is being spent or ask someone close to you to do it for you. Everyone has the same amount of time every day however there are people who make better use of the time they have. Do you notice any time that is not being used well and could the time be spent writing instead?
You could stop watching tv during evenings or spend less time on devices. You could stay in to write on a Saturday night, every other week. Or spend less time at the shops, or doing chores. It’s ok to have a messy house once in a while – you may even get used to it! You could get up a couple of hours earlier in the mornings to write (5 am), or catch the bus rather than drive to work and write as you travel.
Tip 2: Choose a spot to write that inspires you
Choose a spot to write that inspires you and you’ll naturally want to make time to be there because it makes you feel good. Personalise that place so it feels like you belong there. Make it inviting. If it’s a room at home and a desk, spruce it up with some nice decor, or pictures and sayings that mean something to you. Make sure it’s a room with a window so you can enjoy natural light and fresh air while you write.
To stimulate your writer’s imagination you may like to take your writing out-and-about, like to your favourite cafe, or to the ocean, or into the woods. Being among people, bustling activity or in the beauty of nature may help you with the flow of ideas. Feeling inspired by your surroundings will certainly make you want to find the time to write again.
I write best at my dining table because it’s a room with a lovely view. During the day, I look at my garden, hear the birds and sense the beauty all around me. I also look at a beautiful painting across the room and photos of my family from special times. These get me centred and in the mood for writing, every day. I have also written in cafes, in parks, by the river and ocean.
Tip 3: Set up expectations to help motivate you
It’s very important to have expectations for yourself as a writer. You may be self-motivated and it may be enough that you have worked out a timetable and your weekly writing goals. You pretty much stay on course, week in, week out. However, many manage time more efficiently when there are expectations coming from outside of them.
When someone is expecting your writing to be delivered on time, whether it be an editor, a client, a fellow writer or a family member, it gets you moving. You don’t want to let them down. One reason why Spirit my way is set up with a blog on its homepage is that it makes me feel more accountable to my readers. And so it helps me to meet my writing goals.
There are many ways to put a healthy amount of pressure on yourself so you find time to write regularly. You could tell the family to expect your memoir for Christmas, or clients to expect your helpful how-to book by next May. You could arrange with your partner for them to receive a chapter of your manuscript each month and have them provide feedback. You could enter writing contests, or submit to magazines that have deadlines.
Tip 4: Make the most of your tiny times & daily pauses
The wonderful thing about writing is that you can do it in bits and pieces of time. You can write almost anywhere and on anything. If snatches of time are all you can afford then you can still make progress. Much of my book Where The Light Lives was written here and there, between baby naps, at night, and on Sunday afternoons (I gave up tv, cleaning and bike rides!). But it was in the ‘tiny times’ that I made stratospheric progress, in those seemingly inconsequential everyday pauses.
These days, people like to write on devices, but it’s also good to get a little old fashioned with your writing. Carry a notebook around with you wherever you go. Or leave paper and pen in the places you frequent. You’ll be amazed how often a perfectly fantastic idea, line or word arises when you’re sitting on the toilet, taking a shower, washing dishes, hanging out laundry, standing in a cue, buying groceries or driving your car. If you don’t jot it down, there and then (or thereabouts), you’ll have a sleepless night trying to recall the magic!
Tip 5: See your writing as having real value
I see writing as a spiritual act. It’s time to get in touch with my higher aspect. It’s my relaxation, meditation, and therapy. I also value it because it brings me together with my readers wherever they are in the world. If you see your writing time as something that is nourishing and sacred to your life, you add value to it. If you see your words are a way of passing on hope, inspiration, and knowledge to others, you add value to it.
As writing is valuable to me, I prioritise it. I would have more money if I wasn’t a writer and working in another profession, but truth is, writing enriches my life in ways money cannot, and never could. I value writing more than having a new lounge or car. So, if you’re really wanting to write, or to write more, and feel you haven’t the time, you may even consider working less in your day job.
I hope these tips have been helpful to you. Let me know which one you think is the most beneficial and how you go finding more time to write. If you have a writer friend, please share this post!