So, like most of you I’m a pretty busy person. Writing daily as a habit (or professionally as I probably should say) can be difficult. I have a normal 9-5 job, kid, housework, and all that other rigmarole. However, I also have a novel burning in me and a need to write that doesn’t let up … so how do I find time? And how do I make sure when I do that it’s the best I can do in that time?
Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 30 days…
1) DON’T FIND TIME – CLAIM IT.
If it’s important to you, you’ll always make time for it. For example, if your kid suddenly fell ill you certainly wouldn’t say, “Oh sorry about that Timmy. Mommy has to get her nails done today and Criminal Minds is on so you’re just going to have to wait to go to the doctors.” Well… I hope you wouldn’t. In that example, Timmy is important! So mom would make time for Timmy. And if your friend had a loved one die? You’d make time to talk to and comfort them, right? Lawn needs mowed so the neighbors don’t call the city on you for ignoring it too long? You’ll mow!
So, why… why wouldn’t you do something that comes as natural to you as breathing? Sit down in your chair and create! YOU AND YOUR NEEDS ARE IMPORTANT TOO… you’re only giving your family, friends, and job a partial person if you’re not doing what you need to do for you every … single … day. If not for you – do it for them. They deserve the BEST you, you got and that involves writing.
2) WRITER’S ZEN IS A LUXURY. TREAT IT AS SUCH.
I don’t know about you but I love getting to that place where I’m writing and the words are flowing out as fast as I could speak them. I hear my own voice in my head and the story is engaging me as much as I hope it will engage you when you read it! This is a LOVELY thing. Sadly, for a lot of years, I’ve been of the opinion that if I don’t have time to get into that head space then I don’t have time to write. This is a LIE. That’s not to say that what I write in five or ten minutes here and there is always 100% as good as what I put out when I hit that “writer’s zen” … but what rough draft is perfect? And trust me, when you get to the rewrites and edits, a lot of your word count will be on the chopping block anyway so don’t stress about it being perfect. You don’t need writer’s zen… you need words on the page.
3) PRACTICE DOESN’T MAKE PERFECT – IT MAKES HABITS.
“I’m going to skip writing today. It’ll be okay. I did an extra five hundred words yesterday so I don’t REALLY need to write today.” Okay so I’m guilty of this one. However, if you do this often you’ll find that making excuses (rather than writing daily) becomes the real habit. You need to acknowledge there are going to be days when you don’t write. They will suck and sometimes failure to write will leave you feeling as if YOU’VE failed. You haven’t. You’re human. Give yourself permission to take a day off BUT don’t make excuses and be SURE to get right back on the horse tomorrow. Excuses can become habit. Say it with me: EXCUSES CAN BECOME HABIT. Make sure you’re doing more writing than making excuses (especially to yourself!)
4) GET IT OUT (or … and don’t cringe) LET IT GO.
Someone make you angry and now it’s all you can think about? Something not clean in the house that you HAVE to clean and you can’t stop thinking about that? Whatever is in your head blocking the flow of your story needs to go. It’s important enough to stand in the way of your creation so… get it done or write about it. I know it seems counter productive to “waste time” (as I often saw it) writing about whatever was distracting me from “real writing” but the truth is this: Nothing you create while that distracted is going to be your best. So why not take a moment or three, write what you need to “let go of” and get it out of your way so your brain can do what YOU want to be doing.
5) WRITE FOR YOU.
Nora Roberts. Stephen King. Danielle Steel. I know, I know… like so many of us you dream of writing well enough to make big money (or at least well enough to make ends meet a little easier) there’s nothing wrong with that. However, before you were old enough to know that people got paid for doing what you loved… you still wanted to do it. Chances are good, like so many writers, you’ve been writing as long as you could hold a pencil in your grip and telling tales even longer still. Find a way to reconnect with that person, the storyteller inside. That person is your best you creatively.
Now, that’s not to advise you should walk away from your dream, forget deadlines, or otherwise dismiss the desire to be successful which can be a HUGE motivating factor… just consider making it #2 on the list. It’s so true what they say – the most successful people I’ve ever known in my life operate from a place of passion. When their passion is 100% in what they’re doing, nothing can stop them.
Don’t let anything stop you.