A new year, a new start. This is going to be a fantastic year for your writing, you can feel it in the whorls of your ink-stained fingers! You’ve made your resolutions, you want writing to be a big part of your life, and you’re formulating a plan to do it.
When you’re coming up with that master plan though, make one important distinction. Don’t just find time to write in 2014. Make time.
Finding time to write involves seeking out the free moments in your day and giving them over to writing. That in itself isn’t a bad idea, especially if you’re just starting to write. But what if you don’t have any free moments to give over to storytelling? And what if you want more time to write than you have available? That is when you make time.
Start by keeping track of your day. Carry a small jotter around with you or take notes on your phone of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and how essential the activity is on a scale of 1 (not essential) to 5 (very essential). While things like ‘making dinner’ and ‘having a shower’ might be higher on the scale, activities like watching TV and surfing the Web will be lower.
After a week of tracking your daily activities, look back at what you’ve written down and circle the things you’ve labelled as 1 or 2 on the scale. Could you cut them from your day? If so, this will open up time that you can use for writing. If not, could you cut back on the amount of time you spend on them? For example, if you spend 3 hours watching TV on an evening, could you cut that back to just 1 hour instead?
If you can’t or don’t want to cut back on activities later in the day, consider waking up an hour or two earlier than usual each day and dedicate that time to writing. The #5amWritersClub is a good example of writers making time to write every day. @5amWritersClub hosts word sprints every weekday, so if you want to dedicate a couple of hours to writing, go join them!
Make note of activities spread throughout the day that could be grouped together. For example, if you spend 30 minutes on a morning replying to emails, then another 30 minutes on a night, plus an hour messaging on social media throughout the day, could you group these together so that they’re dealt with all in one go? By grouping similar activities together and putting a time limit on them, you can clear out space throughout the day for other activities.
With the free time you’ve created by eliminating and cutting back on inessential activities, you now have much more time available to write!
If you can, set aside the same time each day and make a routine of sitting down to write. Within a few days, you’ll notice the difference it makes to your mood, within a few weeks, you’ll see the improvement in your writing, and by the year’s end, you’ll have achieved the goal you made at the start of 2014: to make writing a part of your life.
What things have you cut back on to make time for writing?