Monday, February 6, 2012

How To Find Time To Write

If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know that I recently moved to a new state and have been working on trying to find a job for the last few weeks. What you probably don't know is that I've actually been looking for regular full-time employment (not the part-time retail thing I've been doing) for more than a year now. I started this blog as a way to keep myself sane as I applied for countless jobs with little to no response. That's all changed now. In the last three weeks I've had more job interviews than I had in all of 2011.

Of course, running around going to all of these interviews has a down side: less time for writing. If my posts have seemed a little short lately, there's your explanation. All writers run across this problem at some point in their careers. They are faced with real life and have to find a way to make writing fit in.

How can we do that?

Schedule it. Set aside a specific time and day each week that is only for writing. Don't let anything else get in the way. Tell your family, friends, etc that you absolutely cannot do anything for two hours on Sunday afternoon (or whenever you decide) because you are writing.

Use your commute. If you drive to work this is tricky, but if you take the bus or train, it's simple. Bring a notepad with you and write as you travel.

Use any unstructured time, no matter how limited. Sometimes I jot down ideas when I'm making dinner. I put everything in the oven and while I'm waiting I use that time to write. I have a friend who gets his best ideas when he's in the shower. In the foreword to The Green Mile, Stephen King admits that he wrote that book by telling himself a bedtime story in his head every night when he couldn't fall asleep and eventually decided it was worth writing down. It doesn't matter where or when you write, just write.

Turn off the TV. The only time watching TV can help your career is if you're trying to get into writing TV show scripts. And even then, if it's eating into your writing time, it's not helping.

Stay up late or get up early. Yes, you need a certain number of hours of sleep each night to be healthy. But staying up late once a week to get your writing done is not going to kill you.

Focus. No matter how little time you have in your day, when you sit down to write, focus on only one thing: your work. If you tune out everything else while you're writing, you'll be surprised how much you can get done in even the smallest chunks of time. 

How do you find time to write? Tell us in the comments below!

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