I used to tell myself, “Someday, when I have more time, I’ll write.”
Now, in retrospect, I realize how much time I wasted. All those years I was working full-time, I could have found even a few minutes a day to hone my writing skills. Not that I’m behind any sort of schedule, self-imposed or otherwise, (things happen, when they’re meant to happen), but it would have been nice to be a little further along in my writing journey.
What I have learned over the past couple of years, is that no matter how much free time you have, if you don’t focus, you’ll find more excuses than time.
Writing has become a compulsion for me. If I don’t get even a few lines down, I get cranky. I’ve also discovered the more writing I get done or want to do, the more efficient I’ve become getting the mundane, or, as I like to call them, “Muggle” chores and errands out of the way. My attitude being, the sooner I get things done, the sooner I can get back to what I really want to do – write.
I’m lucky enough at this point in my life that I don’t have to work full-time, and yet, sometimes, the old excuses of, “I’m too tired”, “I’ve got too much to do”, creep back into my head and I’m tempted to give into them and just curl up on the couch and watch TV or read. But I don’t, because what I want far outweighs the excuses. I WANT to be a good writer. I WANT someday to be published. For either of those things to happen, I have to make time to work on my dream.
No matter what your circumstances are, working full-time, part-time, SAHM-D, here are some ideas for finding stolen minutes in a busy day to work on what you really love:
1. Keep your manuscript open on your computer. That way, when inspiration hits, or you’re put on hold for five minutes, or your baby stays asleep just a little bit longer than you expected, you can easily access and work on your book. Just make sure you’ve got your auto save set to back up every few minutes to avoid losing any work if the power goes out.
2. Give up that bubble bath, mani/pedi appointment, sitcom, or whatever to buy yourself more time to write.
3. Brainstorm and let it flow. Don’t aim for perfection, just get it down. You can refine and clean it up later. To that end, carry a note pad with you wherever you go. I’ve got a purse size note book with a pen attached that I carry with me, always. I’ve even started carrying a digital recorder with me on long trips, so I can just dictate whatever idea pops into my head.
4. Have someone to answer to — a critique group, a fellow writer, even your dog — anyone who you’ll be ashamed to look in the eye without something new to show them. I recently joined a local critique group. They meet once a month and ask that you bring five pages of your latest work in progress for them to review. I love this requirement, because, if I can’t generate at LEAST five pages in a month, I’m just not trying hard enough.
5. However, regardless of point number four, don’t beat yourself up if all you write is a line, or only manage to work for ten minutes a day. One line, one plot idea or ten stolen minutes are better than sitting there feeling guilty about not writing at all.
Have a wonderful week, my friends. Get out there and write until your heart and brain run dry.
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