You got up at 5 am just to have time to shower before your family’s day began. Then, you filled every second of daylight with errands, work, and a “to do” list that would stretch to the moon and back…twice. And, this is only Monday. Amid all of the chaos life has to offer, how do you fit time to write into the priority list?
This is a question tossed around quite a bit among writers. It’s also something I, as well as the other bad girlz, struggle with every day. So, here is a list of ideas I use to fit writing time into my life. If there is any crevice of time, I will find a way to stuff it with words. I’m sure not everything on this list will work for you, but hopefully you’ll walk away with one new idea for how to fit writer time into your life.
- The next time you’re doing a mindless task around the house like loading the dishwasher or folding socks, take that time to consider the scene you’re writing. It will make writing it go that much faster.
- When you’re cooking something for dinner that either has to bake for 30 minutes or boil, covered for 30 minutes, set a timer so you don’t burn your house down and write a blog post on your laptop at the kitchen counter.
- When you’re sitting in your car for 5-8 minutes waiting in the carpool lane at the school, tweet 2-3 times. It will update your feeds so you seem active while not taking a large portion of your day.
- Only watch television when your muse requires it. In the time you wasted keeping up with the Kardashians you could have written 500- 1000 words.
- Hold yourself accountable with a daily word count goal. I keep a word countdown to The End on a whiteboard on the back of my pantry door. I also recommend using #badgirlzgoalz on twitter. It keeps me honest and I hope you’ll join us! 🙂
- Use Facebook and Twitter as a reward for words written not for settling down at the computer getting ready to write! If you begin with your reward you’ll lose half a day looking at pictures of someone’s baby who you can’t even remember from high school.
- To feed your muse while staying fit, read or listen to an audiobook while exercising. It’s all about multitasking!
- Learn to say “No.” You don’t have to volunteer to do everything in life. Free up a little time for yourself and for your writing.
- Keep a small notebook with you. Next time you’re stuck in a waiting room or occupying your time during dance/gymnastics/karate/piano lessons, jot down notes about the scene you’re writing. Once I wrote a whole scene while waiting for my husband to come out of the home improvement store.
- Know when you’re too tired to be productive to avoid beating your head against your desk in frustration. Put it down and walk away. Also, know when your family needs your attention. Writing is a priority, but the people in your life are more important.
- One hour either early in the morning or at night when your house is quiet will add up to a complete manuscript pretty fast. If you want to join the bad girlz on twitter for #badgirlzsprintz, we race to write words for an hour and we would love to have your company.
- When you do get a free afternoon, don’t go to the mall or take a nap. Use the time you have available to you to write.
- Get rid of the toxic people in your life. If you spend half of everyday either angry with someone or talking someone off a ledge, you’ll have no energy left to write. Sorry to be harsh, but this is true. Distance yourself from the energy vampires in life.
- If you’re to the point of sending out submissions or querying, send them late in the day. I don’t know about you, but for me there is something about clicking send that kills the writer mojo.
- Put the cell phone down. You can’t write a novel and text at the same time. I’ve learned this one the hard way—painful lesson that it is.
I hope these ideas help you fit writing into your life. What do you do to fit writing into your schedule? Add your ideas in the comments, so we can all learn a trick or two from one another.
By the way, I wrote half of this blog post on the bathroom floor while my 4 year old played in the tub and the other half while dinner baked in the oven. 🙂
XX – E. Michels