“I really must get round to writing my novel, but I just don’t have the time.” That’s often the response, when you tell someone you’re writing a book. The assumption a lot of people make is that you’ve somehow got access to more time. They seem to think that you don’t have a job or kids or a family or bills to pay. No, you just swan around writing a novel, while they just don’t have a second because they’re just so gosh darned busy.
Well, I’ve got news for those people. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. Everyone. We all have the same amount of time. It’s just a matter of what we choose to do with it. If you made a note of all the things you do in a day, you’d realise all the moments that just slip by without you noticing.
The first step is to want to be a writer. The only difference between professional writers and wannabe writers is that the professional writer writes. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t write, maybe you don’t want it badly enough. If you do want it, read on.
Give Yourself Permission to write: You really want to write, but there always seems to be something more important to do instead. This is a sign that you need to give yourself permission to write. Perhaps the people around you make you feel like writing isn’t important or has no value. It’s up to you to make your writing a priority. It is important. You value it, which means they can understand that or just deal with it.
Prioritise: We’re all busy, but we all have 24 hours. I know I’ve said that before, but it’s important to remember. You need to prioritise your day or week. You need to give yourself permission to write and then you need to push it up the priorities list.
Of course your kids, work or school and important life stuff come first. But do you really need to live in a show home? Push mopping the kitchen floor or mowing the lawn down the list and put writing first. All that happens is the grass grows a bit longer or the floor looks a bit mucky, but instead you’ve written the first three scenes of chapter 10 of your novel. Trust me, that’ll feel so much more gratifying than a shiny floor.
Make Time: We live in an age where people have more leisure time than ever before. We have machines to wash our clothes and do our dishes. We have devices to remind us where to be and what to do. We don’t need to write letters any more or leave the house to go shopping, we just ping a message or make an online order via our phone. We don’t even need to turn on our desktop PCs, any more, because we’ve all got our PC in our pocket these days.
So where has all that saved time gone? It’s there, you just have to use it. Don’t find time, make time to write. Finding time means you’re just trying to slot writing in around everything else. But we’ve already chosen to write and made it a priority, so now you need to simply schedule it in.
Decide when you’re going to write and how long for and then plan your day or week around it. If you’re a lark, set a morning writing slot. If you’re an owl, go for evening. Dedicate you’re work lunch hour to writing or set several 15 minute writing breaks during the day or declare Sundays your writing day. Just make time and write.
Commit: With your writing scheduled, it’s time to commit. Tell the people around you that you’re not available at your scheduled times and enforce that. They’ll soon get used to it and start to take you and your writing seriously. And if they don’t, stick with it anyway and prove them wrong by writing and finishing something.
Writers aren’t special time expanding wizards, they are just people who make time to write. They don’t feel guilty about writing, they just know it’s something they have to do. Remember, you do have time to write. So become a writer today and find those moments in the day when you could just write.
Any steps you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments. How do you find time to write and what are your biggest vices, when it comes to not writing?