Finding time to write isn’t easy. Over the past couple of months, my time’s been devoted to family issues. I squeezed in writing when I could.
A reader asked me how I found time for writing with so many demands. I replied that after a while, writing just becomes a habit, and a comforting escape too. I wrote early in the morning, at the hospital, and late at night.
If writing isn’t yet a habit for you, you’ll need to write every day, so that it does become habitual. When writing becomes a habit, it doesn’t mean that writing time will magically appear, but it does mean that you’ll make best use of the time you have.
Start by finding out where your time’s going.
Track your time: keep a time log for a few days
In Freelance Income: Invest In Yourself, we suggested that you manage your spending by tracking it. You can manage your time by tracking it too. You don’t need to track your time forever, just until you get an idea of what takes the most time, and how you might squeeze more writing time out of your day.
Try tracking your time in a simple spreadsheet for a week, or in a Word doc. It doesn’t matter how you track, as long as you end up with an idea of how you spend your time over the course of a week.
I do this every three months, and it’s always enlightening. The last time I tracked, I found I was spending too much time on news websites. I tend to be a news junkie, and tracking made me aware that spending an hour a day reading news is just wasting time.
What you need to do, and what you don’t
Once you’ve kept a time log for a week, it’s time to decide what YOU need to do, and what you don’t.
Look at your log, and for each event, ask yourself: is this something only I can do? If it isn’t, would it make sense to delegate, or to hire it done?
For example, one of my students hired a cleaner to come in for half a day each week. The cleaner cleaned, and did laundry. This freed up a couple of hours a day for that writer. Another student hired someone to ferry her children to after-school activities.
Next, think about your goals, and set daily goals.
Set three goals for each day
Setting three goals for each day helps you to prioritize tasks:
“Task icons helped me a lot to prioritize tasks, but every now and then I end up with a page full of tasks where almost all had an exclamation mark or a star. There are days where almost everything is important, but you know upfront that it will be impossible to get everything done. So, you have to prioritize.”
One of your daily goals will be related to writing if you’re working a day job. If you’re a full-time writer, all three of your goals will be related to writing.
Essential: do your “goal” tasks first, before you do anything else.
Let’s say that you have three goals today:
- Write 2,000 words of your novel
- Find an image for a book cover
- Revise a short story
Start with your highest priority task, which is writing 2,000 words of your novel. You may be able to write 2,000 words in a couple of hours on a good day. Leave yourself three hours for this. You can split the time if you like; you know that I like to use timers. So, if you’re using a timer, spend 25 minutes (or whatever time you choose) on the novel, then go on to other tasks. Keep coming back to your novel throughout the day, until you’ve written 2,000 words.
Leave yourself time to think about your writing
You need time to think. And to just goof off. Everyone does. So make sure that you give yourself the gift of 30 minutes a day of free time. You can use this time in any way you choose — browse Facebook if you like. 🙂
Everyone has 24 hours in each day
We all get the same 24 hours. Life has ups and downs. Major life events happen, and they cut down on your writing time. Go with it. Do your best. That’s all you can do, and it’s enough.
Please try keeping a time log for a week. It will help you to see where your time’s going, and you’ll feel more in control.
Closeouts: check out the bargains to help you to write more, and sell more
To meet my goals for 2015, I’m closing out some of our bestselling programs, so that I can focus on coaching and publishing. This means that you get special offerings on some of our current programs. When they close, they’ll close for good. And yes, you receive coaching with them too. 🙂 Enjoy.
How to profit from your writing: online store.
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