So many people ask, how do you work a full time job, go to classes, run a house, and still manage to find time to read and write? There has to be some simple answer, they say. And there is.
The answer is that you don’t. You will never find time. You must make time. It’s a straightforward and easy answer, but acting on it is a whole different beast. And so, here are my top suggestions on making the time to write.
Morning and evening are some of the only times we’re able to break away from the rest of the day and do our own thing. If you have children or pets or any other number of responsibilities, this goes doubly so. My recommendation is to wake up 30 minutes earlier/stay up 30 minutes later, and go into a room where nothing else is happening, where nothing else will try to claim your attention. A ‘mental quarantine zone’, if you will. I’ve even gone to go write in closets or bathrooms before, because hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Take a pen and paper, or a laptop (with the wifi turned off), and get to writing. It doesn’t have to be about anything special, just something so that at the end of those 30 minutes, you can say ‘I wrote something’. Once you get into the habit, the words will begin flowing better and better.
I love to eat and I love to write. Admittedly, doing them together isn’t that relaxing, especially if I’m having a tough workday, but with an hour long lunch break I can knock out a lot of work. Bring a lunch so that you don’t have to spend precious time going to and fro, open up your laptop or journal, and get to working. The temptation to socialize with coworkers or scroll through social media might be strong, but the satisfaction of having knocked out a good chunk of writing far and above surpasses it.
‘Scheduling’ isn’t a word that excites most people, but it can be a boon if done right. Get out your calendar, mark down the time and place, and hold yourself accountable. Force yourself to go. Set a timer. I don’t care what you have to do to remember it, but go. (I for one like to go to Starbucks after work, so I can both avoid evening traffic and get some writing done.) Oftentimes we let our commitments to ourselves fall by the wayside, and I think it’s time we change that. Don’t you?
First and foremost, I’d like to establish this: there is no dichotomy between working smarter or harder. It’s not a multiple choice. It’s an ‘all of the above’. So, how does this apply when writing? Let’s say that you’ve finally made time to write. Excellent! You are working smarter.
But what are you doing during that time? Is your phone near you? Do you have Buzzfeed quizzes open? You probably already know that you shouldn’t be doing that–but let’s take it a step further. Do you have a writing outline? Are you doing a word sprint? It’s hard enough to find time to write; why not really push yourself to perform during it?
A lot of people think they’re busy, and some of them actually are. For all of these busy people out there, we all make choices. Today I chose to watch a couple YouTube videos and do a crossword puzzle. Those are minutes I could have used to write instead, but I didn’t, and I’m okay with that. What we do with our time is truly up to us, and even with a million responsibilities and things to do, we can all find a few spare minutes to further our dreams.
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