So many of my writing peers tell me TIME is the single biggest obstacle making it hard to reach their writing goals. And I. Hear. You. I have found, particularly this year, three ways to get somewhere despite feeling like I’m not getting anywhere because frankly: there’s never enough time.
Since the start of the year I’ve been trying three tactics with discipline and I am really pleased with seeing leaps of progress in my writing that last year would have taken me hiding in a closet for a month.
Take a peek– maybe these ideas will be helpful to you too!
- There is time. We just have to find it.
Ouch. Meditating on my New Years goals at the end of the year is something I like to do. And when I came to this epiphany I straight up wanted to slap myself. It’s not something we haven’t heard before but it still sucks to be reminded. If you’re like me, you may realize this and still be in denial about it. So let me show you the rabbit trail of realization this put me on.
I have 24 hours in everyday. I have several things pulling at me each day for bits of that time. Is it getting kids to school? Is it getting out the door to work? Doing work and then getting home? Is it constant doctor visits? Whatever it is– our time goes somewhere. And I would argue most of the places it goes are VALUABLE uses of time. So how could we every stop volunteering at the homeless shelter on Wednesdays to write during that time? We can’t just NOT go to work. And I mean the kids won’t raise themselves, unfortunately. LOL. Despite all those valid reasons, I decided to map out my time and figure out where there was extra. Here’s what I found:
>>I homeschool 3 pre-school to elementary aged children everyday for 4 hrs at minimum.
>>I keep said kids alive and fed everyday for … okay ALL DAY.
>>I engage in kids said extracurricular activities 3-5 hours / week.
>>I work my side business part-time about 10 hrs/week.
>>I sleep hopefully 6-7 hrs/night.
>>House chores take up at least a couple hrs/day.
>>I have book club, volunteer opportunities, time to spend with family and friends set aside every other week. Throw in the occasional hair and nail salon trip, car maintenance, house maintenance (indoors and out) and I’m tired just writing that out.
But y’all. I found time. Not a lot. But some. How?
It’ll be different for everyone of course. But what worked for me was organizing my day. Creating routines in my day did two magical things for me: 1) kept me sane; and 2) created natural points in my day where my mind is geared up for the expected activity.
It takes me a bit to get warmed up writing. And I found by sitting down at approximately the same time everyday I can dive into where I left off writing even faster.
So when did I find time? The early morning hours and NEWSFLASH I am not a morning person. At. All. *annoyed face emoji* But that’s the time I could find to carve out consistently. Sure I love sleep ha ha. And I honestly have to go to bed earlier to be able to spend these early hours before the minions wake up writing. That means I’m hanging out with the husband less before bed. Boo. Also means my kids are getting in bed on time. Also means some later night weekday events with girlfriends I miss out on–in this season.
And these morning hours still don’t get me a TON of time. I take 2 hours before the crumb snatchers wake Mon – Fri to write. I spend the Sat and Sun early morning hours with my family. After all, balance, right? I like that when I sit down before the sun’s come up my brain clicks on like OKAY TIME TO DO THIS WRITING THING. The consistency helps. So much. Would I love to have 4-5 hours to write? SURE. But right now in this season of life I can’t sustain that and keep sane LOL. So finding pockets of time on a consistent basis has been a huge help to me. And I get a LOT OF STUFF done in those short 2 hours!
So map out your schedule and look for pockets of time that you can consistently use to write. Perhaps that means reorganizing some things you do and when. If that’s a possibility for you, try it! And keep in mind…
2) Get creative about when/where you write.
Listen. This is going to sound straight up crazy. And write me off if you like. But before I could sit down at a laptop consistently each day, I used to find any second I could write. Perhaps it’s waiting for my kid during basketball practice? But I can’t lug my laptop, you say. It’s old and has to stay plugged in, you say. And how crazy would I look with a 55-foot extension cord sitting on the bleachers at my sons game with my laptop, you say.
All valid. And I got you.
I write in Google Docs 95% of the time because of it’s auto save feature. You can open that sucker up on your smart phone– YES ON YOUR PHONE. What year is it!?!!?? (GAH I FEEL OLD.) From your phone you can read, edit, comment, make notes, keep outlining. Right there while you’re waiting for little DeAndre to master his jump shot. Boom. Maybe it isn’t during practice. Maybe you have regular doc appointments? If your doctor is like mine, we spend 20 mins at least in the waiting room. Is writing your happy calm place? An escape? Does it bring you joy? Whip that story out on your phone in the waiting room and dive in.
I know it sounds nuts but rethinking where and how you write/edit can really transform how much time you think you have available to write in a day. I realize this doesn’t work for everyone, but I encourage you to at least try it. You might surprise yourself. I’ve legit written full on chapters on my phone. I’ve edited entire drafts through the Google Docs app. C R A Z Y. I know. And while it may seem like only a small amount of time that you can squeeze in, don’t forget…
3) Progress is progress is progress.
I know it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. What will 30mins a day amount to in the grand scheme of an entire book. SURVEY SAYS: A LOT. For one, you’re creating a habit and that’s worth something. Writing is like a marathon. Cliche but go with me there a sec. If you have 26 miles to do and you walk a half a mile a day. Will you get to the end if you don’t stop? Again, that old faithful SURVEY SAYS: YES.
I know it feels like it’s taking forever. And so many writing peers are having their time, their season, shining bright. But hear me– you’ll get there. The destination has a finish line. The draft has a “THE END” page. As long as you keep moving toward it, you’ll get there. And there’s NOTHING more motivating than getting to the end of your draft or round of revisions. It’s so gratifying every time you get to the page that says “THE END.”
So push toward the finish line. Don’t worry about anyone else’s time. Just keep a steady pace that works for your life in this season. And work toward your goal in whatever pockets of time your life allows right now.
And be proud of that. Because you’re doing it. Whether it feels like it or not, you’re doing the writing thing. And I for one am proud you haven’t thrown in the towel!
Let me know how you’re doing from time to time! Happy Thursday!!