The Blogging from A-Z Challenge continues today. Throughout April I’m posting about my life as a writer, including my inspirations, frustrations and celebrations.
Finding time to write is something I struggle with. I work full time and I’m also mum to a three year-old. So, as you can imagine, life gets pretty crazy. If I want to write I have to sacrifice sleep, quality time with friends and family, or free time that I would normally spend reading or blogging.
I know many other writers are in the same position, juggling one or more jobs, parenting and other responsibilities. It’s hard to find the perfect balance. If you push yourself too hard and cram writing into every spare minute of the day, you can easily burn out and end up exhausted, and then your home life and your mental health suffer. But if you use social media to unwind all the time, then nothing gets done and you might become frustrated and unfulfilled.
I would love to have full days to work on my WiP, but it just isn’t possible. Instead, I have to fit writing in around my daily life, writing a few paragraphs here and there. It’s slow progress, but I know I will get there in the end. Writing a tiny amount every day is better than writing nothing.
Some simple tricks to gain more writing time
- Get up early before everyone else is up. I’m so not a morning person, but this one really works for me. You can write 300-500 words in around 30 minutes if you’re typing out a first draft.
- Take a notebook everywhere so you can make use of ‘wasted’ time when you’re waiting for appointments or travelling.
- Write in 10 to 20 minute sprints. You can squeeze these in to your lunch break, morning routine or while waiting for dinner. Try following @wordsprints @NaNoWordSprints or @writingsprinter on Twitter and join in when you can.
- Limit (not ban) procrastination. Set an amount of time for checking emails and social media (e.g 30 mins) and stick to it by setting a timer or installing a browser extension or app to block distractions. That way, you’ve allowed yourself to scratch the itch but it’s not eating into your writing time.
- Talk if you can’t type. Even if you don’t have a pen and paper, you can plan stories by talking into your phone or chatting with a friend.
- Join a writer’s group or hang out with a writing buddy so you can combine writing and socialising and top up your motivation.
- Involve your kids. If you feel guilty about writing when they’re around, get them to join in with writing their own flash fiction to a prompt, reading your work back to you or interviewing your protagonist.
Before you go…
How do you find time to do the things you love?
Great post with some great suggestions! Life pulls us in so many directions I think it’s essential that we’re totally honest with ourselves about what our true priorities are, and gently lean into releasing those things that aren’t. Knowing your own productivity rhythm is useful as well, so if you can optimize using that time for projects you want to accomplish extra points.
The notebook suggestion is a fantastic one. I have a mini notebook that easily fits into a purse or pocket. It comes in handy when inspiration strikes.
I’ve had to divide my week into writing days – like most of today. Then read blog days when swamped. And recovery days.
Love the meme! Being flexible (e.g. writing at midnight when Caitlin insists on being awake instead of glaring at her and wasting time and losing sleep for an hour or two), setting the phone on airplane mode during writing time (no distractions from anyone), and knowing that missing deadlines isn’t the end of the world really helps (a story can always be reused in another anthology or competition if you miss this one).
Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing: Great Music and Lyrics