I thought I’d write about it finding time! I have done articles on time-management before, but there’s always more to say.
Finding Time sounds so strange, as if rooting between the sofa cushions may yield a few extra scraps of time we didn’t know we had. 🙂
Someone recently asked whether they could make money from writing full time. In truth almost all writers want to write full time. Who doesn’t want to get paid doing what they love?
However the likelihood is that unless you have a supporting benefactor or a nice little trust fund to dip into, for all those pesky things like bills and food, you are probably going to (at least for a while) need other means of supporting yourself before that your novels take off. Which usually means working.
Well of course it sucks. Few of us want to be wasting our hours away in some (often) boring job when all we want to do is write. We all want to write full time, spending oodles of hours pouring our hearts out and those writers’ block moments might not feel so bad, if we have all tomorrow to catch up those lost hours.
But writing isn’t a steady job (hence why at career’s day, it’s not usually something people discuss as a career!) and to get up to the point of earning can take time (not always, but in most cases, it takes time).
Not to mention it’s not just the job of writing, there is editing, market planning, promoting like crazy, smoozing with reviewers, building your brand…then lather, rinse, repeat!
But I don’t have time…
Ahh the cry of so many (not just writers). But in truth you will have scraps of time… maybe not behind the sofa, but maybe if you get your butt OFF the sofa more.
Humanity has kindly broken our lives down into incremental slices of time, which can actually make it easier to manage. It’s about USING the time you have.
The issue I’ve seen is writers who try and match the content amount of other writers who may write full time. They see someone churning out books and they want to do that. They see people blogging every day and writing 12,000 words AND promoting on Facebook and try and match it.
Why? Is your life a perfect match of theirs?
The problem with trying to do everything in these finite amounts of time, is people often look at what others are doing without seeing the bigger picture.
I’ve seen single mums complain they can’t get the word count that X writer does. However X writer has no kids and works part time!
It took me a while to realise that I couldn’t feel bad that I didn’t do what other writers did. I’ve seen people in the 85K challenge who are writing thousands of words a day. However their situation might be a lot different to mine.
In the end comparing yourself against others is never a good idea. Our situations make our schedules different. Maybe you have a job, or two jobs, kids, a house to manage, projects to do, school work, maybe you’re a carer or a volunteer…
Whatever mixture your situation is, it will be pretty unique to you – because it’s not just about what you have to do, it’s also about you, maybe you can run on 5 hours sleep, or maybe you need 9. Maybe you have tons of energy or maybe not, maybe you share a house with others and don’t always get time on the computer because you have to share, maybe you type fast, maybe you type slow…
See how different things affect it?
I have written thousands upon thousands of scenes and stories in my time. I have written 3 full books then chopped them up and written something new.
I did a lot of that while working full time, studying part time for a degree and running my own business. Then add in chores, errands, dealing with family and sometimes even having a social life with my partner… meant a lot of my time was eaten away.
I still find time to write.
In the end it is about appraising your situation, thinking really carefully about what you need to do and want to do.
There will always be things you can streamline or cut. Whether it’s delegating chores to the other family members, prepping lunches and dinners the night before, combining all your errands on one day, spending less time on social media, watching less TV, using “dead time” to brainstorm(“dead time” is like when you’re stood in a queue, stuck in traffic, sitting in a waiting room…)
Use these scraps of times to turn your story over in your head, if you can grab and pad and pen and make notes or hell, write a scene!
- Use a timer for your social media (give yourself say 20mins to check facebook and twitter) then the moment the timer goes off, go and write!
- Listen to ebooks about marketing techniques or writing techniques while you’re driving or on the bus/train
- Keep a pad full of questions you need to answer and when you find yourself in a waiting room at the dentist/doctor/vets etc get it out and think on them
- Consider having a day without TV or limiting how much you watch
- For a week or two, create a Time Journal were you literally write down everything you do and how long it took. You’ll be surprised how much time you waste on things. Often we don’t realise just how much faffing around we do.
There is always time to be found and you just need to become efficient at finding it. Then try and clump it together so you have a nice stretch of writing time.
Don’t worry if you can’t, 10mins here, 30mins there is still better than having no time.
So, dear readers, what are your suggestions for finding that elusive Extra Time? Leave your comments below!
Yup, this is late! But my partner flew back yesterday and with all the madness and trips to the airport, I ended up not getting this finished. Lol, I ran out of time!
But better late than never right?
I would love to hear from you about finding time or how you have managed your time or any other thought or opinion on time!
About Ari Meghlen
I’ve been a writer since I was given unsupervised access to pens and am unable to write anything shorter than a trilogy. I live in the greener part of the UK with my awesome boyfriend, 3 mad cats and 1 overly-confident budgie. I spend my time lost in imaginary worlds, making jewellery, taking nature photos or watching bad movies. Visit me on Facebook or on my Website or just leave me a comment on this blog. I love comments