by Lisa Jordan @lisajordan
Today’s writers are not as those portrayed on TV. Many do not have the income ability to write full-time, nor do they have opulent offices overlooking the ocean.
In fact, quite a few of my author friends work full-time inside or outside the home, care for their families, juggle church responsibilities, battle dust bunnies from overtaking their homes and try to squeeze in a decent night’s sleep.
For example, in addition to writing novels, I also have a very demanding day job that claims some of my evening and weekend time. Additionally, I teach Sunday school, and I’m active in different aspects of the writing world. Finding writing time can be a challenge when I’m wiped out from working all day.
Instead of hoping for time to appear on their calendars, many writers juggling different responsibilities carve out the necessary writing time.
Now that my boys are grown, I have more free time in the evenings to write…when I’m not buried in paperwork for my day job, so I’ve set aside two hours each night to work on my current projects.
But, you know what? Even with scheduled time and good intentions, that time can get eaten away by other priorities or unexpected crises. So I’ve learned a way to carve out essential writing time to ensure I can meet my deadlines. How?
I’ve forced myself out of bed and written in the mornings before my work day began. I’ve written during nap time (I own and operate a childcare program). I’ve given up the majority of my favorite TV shows. At times, I’ve had to say no to fun activities so I could meet my daily word count goals.
• Write during naptime
• Delegate household chores and ask your family to help with cooking, cleaning, and laundry so you can use that time to put words on the page.
• Turn off the TV and use that time to write.
• Set your kitchen timer for 15 minutes and write without stopping, editing, or backspacing.
• Arrange a kid swap with a friend, family member or neighbor. Ask them to keep your kids for two hours and you’ll do the same for them. Use those two hours to write.
• If you can afford it, hire a college student to entertain your children for a couple of hours.
• Get up an hour early or stay up an hour later and use that time to write.
• Head to the library for an hour or two.
• Take a notebook and brainstorm or make notes while waiting for children to finish extracurricular activities. I like to use my Notes app on my iPhone because it syncs to my Mac and the words are waiting when I sit down to my computer.
• If you carpool or commute to work, use that time to write a scene…as long as you’re not the one driving. 🙂
• Learn to say no to additional obligations. Crowding your plate forces your dream to become less of a priority.
Set a daily word count goal even if it’s only 250 words a day…those pages will add up. Then look at your daily schedule and routine to see where you can free up stolen moments to write. Consider asking a writing friend to be your accountability partner to encourage you and to crack that whip when your motivation fizzles.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking it sounds easy for me because I don’t have young kids running around, I’m not caring for a sick family member, or I’m not dealing with a health issue.
I’ve been writing since my boys were toddlers. I’ve written in the waiting room during my mom’s open heart surgeries. And I write while dealing with rheumatoid arthritis.
Maybe you’re looking at your calendar and still scratching your head, wondering where you’re going to find extra time. Consider these suggestions:
That word count will continue to increase as long as you are diligent about writing on a regular basis. I’ll be the first to admit this writing gig isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes talking about writing is so much more fun than actually doing the work. But you know what? If you want it badly enough, you’ll find the time or a way to make your dream happen. And the end result is such a major accomplishment. Don’t you think it’s worth it?