Last week I typed up the first few chapters of my novel- it took longer than I thought! I also started rewriting/editing a short story. By the end of the week I wasn’t happy with how much I’d done because I didn’t finish either task. And this week it seems that I won’t have much time either. I didn’t write any new material for the novel I’m working on but I did end up writing a new short story.
So far this week I have written approx 698 words out of my 2,000 a week goal. It’s early in the week though and I’m hoping that I will find the time to write more. It can be hard to find the time or the motivation to write sometimes, especially with work so how do you do it?
Finding the time to write
I’ve heard/read a lot of advice over the years, I read once that you should find an optimal time of day to write, that some people may write better in the morning others in the evening etc But if you don’t have a 9-5 job, or you don’t have your work hours set each week then having a writing routine is difficult.
This should be the only writing rule or advice you listen to (once you got the basics): find what works for you look for advice and help by all means but remember that we are all different and what works for one person may not be the best for you.
Here’s my thoughts on how to find the time to write:
- Write in your dinner break at work or on the bus on the way to work (this doesn’t work for me as I need quiet)
- Write before breakfast or during breakfast instead of watching tv/radio
- In the bath (haven’t tried it, I read in the bath but books get wet )
- Get up earlier than normal or go to bed later to get some writing done in the extra time
- What can you sacrifice? If you’re really honest, how much time can you gain for writing? You could not watch that tv programme or you could limit social media. Could you even put off household chores until the writing is done?
- If you have a word count goal figure out how long it will take to reach it and then you could either write it all in one sitting or write in blocks of say fifteen minutes or as much time as you can spare.
- If you are really stuck then you could do it next week and take a break! No procrastinating now!
- Be kind to yourself too. Do what you can and celebrate every little achievement (I’m being a hypocrite here because I need to do this!)
If you really struggle all the time then maybe you need to think about what is stopping you from writing. Is it that you are too busy? Is it a lack of confidence or a overzealous inner critic? (If it’s the inner critic NaNoWriMo helps a lot)
Maybe it’s life and you need to work that out first before you can devote time to writing. I often hear people say they don’t have time to read, sometimes it’s true, but people use it as an excuse rather than admit that they don’t really want to or like reading (which is fine! But why lie?!) So is writing something you really want to do? Maybe you’ve always wanted to finish a novel but things get in the way?
Or maybe you’re not enjoying it like you used to and you need a break. I used to find writing a chore because I was so focused on being published and meeting certain goals and I got stressed. I took a break and changed my focus and found the love for writing again.
Sometimes you just need to be motivated:
How to get motivated/inspired
- Take a break, sometimes a day off or even a week is all you need. The mind needs time to refresh
- Listen to music when you write. If you’re writing a love story listen to a love song. Or if you’re writing a horror some scary music can help you to get into the right frame of mind (youtube!)
- Read a good book- books can be inspiring, after all isn’t that how we became writers, from a love of reading? Don’t just read the books they say everyone should read, read out of your comfort zone, read funny books, fantasy books… Any good book can be inspirational
- Daydream or think about your story when you’re doing something else. I often do this before a writing session it takes the pressure off when you sit down to write.
- Writing exercises/prompts can also be a good way to kick start your imagination. Whether it’s exercises online or just scrolling through images or reading a newspaper for a prompt or idea
- Set a timer and write anything (even if you think it’s rubbish) until the timer goes off. This has helped me when I’ve been stuck in the past, goggle has a timer if your phone doesn’t
And above all be kind to yourself you know if you have time or not. There’s no rush.
What’s your tips for finding the time and being inspired?