Writing takes time, you guys. It takes a lot of time. And for a long time, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough of it. That’s why I made my word of the year for 2017 Create.
I created a lot! I worked hard to create a life that let me, well, create, as much as possible. It bore dividends that I’m still feeling this year. My goal is to publish 6 books in 2018, but the only reason I’m able to do that is the hard work I put in in 2017. I honestly probably won’t be able to publish as many in 2019, for instance. That’s because I’m focusing on learning this year, and going deeper into what I’m writing.
But you’re here to find more time to write, right? Okay, we can do that. Here are five things I did all last year to write more.
Figure out your priorities, and make them known.
I tell you all the time that writing is the third highest priority in my life. My family and my own self-care are the only two things that I will put above that.
I know that writing comes before almost all else, and so does everyone around me. I don’t have people in my life who expect me to drop everything and hang out with them. I don’t have people in my life who get offended when I tell them lovingly, respectfully, that I’m writing and don’t want to cancel that time. Even my kids respect writing time, though it took a good long while to make that happen.
I managed to make the people around me respect my writing time by respecting it myself. I don’t answer texts or messages when I’m writing. I write during the time that I say I’m going to write, so if someone should happen upon me they’ll find me working. I don’t do anything else while I’m writing, and so I show the people around me that this is serious. I teach them how to treat me.
You can’t find time to write if you don’t know what you’re doing with your time, it’s just that easy. I buy an Erin Condron planner, but of course, you don’t need to invest that kind of money. Just keep track of things. Write down doctors’ appointments as soon as you schedule them. Put down your work schedule, and your spouses. Put down your kid’s school schedule. Put in every birthday of the year, so that you’re that guy who always remembers people’s birthdays.
Then take a good look at the time left over, and schedule some writing time every day. If you’re already writing every day, see where you can put in more time. Now that you’re no longer scrambling to get things done last minute, I imagine that you’ll find a lot more free time.
Cut out the crap
Have you ever tracked your time to see what you do in a day? It’s eye-opening, let me tell you. I had no idea how long I could scroll on Reddit.
While some ‘time wasting’ in a day is okay, even good, there are limits. So take a look at how long you’re spending watching tv, mindlessly consuming social media, or shopping for stuff you don’t need. Cut out as much of it as you can.
Do I cut out all of it? No, of course not. I watch tv with my kids and play on my computer or crochet every single night. I also like to check Reddit and Instagram a few times a day.
But I do those things at specific times that I’ve assigned to those activities. I’m not doing them mindlessly, or at times of my day when I might get something decent done. (I read Reddit during brain ‘down times’ like right when I get up or just before I go to bed when I’m fried for the night.)
So cut out the crap you do that I bet you don’t even want to do, and you’ll probably find all sorts of time to write.
Streamline the things you have to do
I would love to have a chef and housekeeper, but that’s never going to happen. So what I have instead is a super streamlined way of doing things that mean I spend as little time as possible keeping my house in order and keeping my family fed.
I won’t go into too much detail here because if I do I’ll just be repeating the entire Flylady baby steps and that’s a silly waste of time. Just check out the website, go through the baby steps, and see what a chance it makes in your life.
Get creative and be flexible
I’ve gotten quite flexible with places and times I can and do write. I used to ride public transportation a lot, and I’d write on the way to and from work. I write in doctor’s waiting rooms. I take occasional writing retreat days and go spend the day at the library or a coffee shop. I write while my kids watch stuff on Youtube that irritates me.
Basically, I’ve learned to get creative and flexible with when and where I write. It makes it a lot easier to reach my writing goals every day. Or, at least most days.
I want to take a minute, and just draw your attention to the title of this post. It doesn’t say 5 super easy and convenient ways to write more because that would be disingenuous. These are not easy things. If you do these five things then you will insist that people respect your goal to be a writer. More than that, you will insist that you respect your goal to be a writer.