Despite all the advances in technology that we were told would make our lives easier, we are all busy people. In fact, some of those technologies seem to have added to that busy-ness.
But that novel idea is still churning away, crying out from the recesses of your mind, begging to be told.
So, how do you find time amidst the chaos of life, to write your novel?
Spare Time, sir?
Finding time sounds so strange, as if rooting between the sofa cushions may yield a few extra scraps of time, we didn’t know we had.
Someone recently asked, in a Facebook group, whether they could make money from writing full time? In truth, almost all writers want to write full time. Who doesn’t want to get paid to do what they love?
Of course, you can make money from writing. However, it’s not quick and it’s not easy. So, unless you have a supporting benefactor or a nice little trust fund to dip into to pay bills, you are probably going to need other means of supporting yourself at the beginning.
Suck it up, Buttercup
Yes, it sucks that we have to lose hours of our day in (often) boring jobs when all we want to do is write.
We just want to spend oodles of hours pouring our hearts out and those writers’ block moments might not feel so bad if we have all tomorrow to catch up lost hours.
But writing isn’t a steady job (hence why at Career Day at school, it’s not usually something discussed as an option) and to get up to the point of earning can take time (not always, but in most cases, it takes time. A lot of time and effort).
Not to mention it’s not just the job of writing, there is editing, market planning, promoting like crazy, schmoozing with reviewers, building your brand… then lather, rinse, repeat!
But I don’t have time…
Ahh, the cry of so many. But in truth, you will have scraps of time… maybe not behind the sofa, but if you get your butt OFF the sofa you can use more of your downtime for writing.
Humanity has kindly broken our lives down into incremental slices of time, which can actually make it easier to manage. It’s about using the time you have.
The issue I’ve seen is writers who try and match the content amount of other writers, who may write full time. They see someone churning out books and they want to do that.
They see people blogging every day and writing 12,000 words AND promoting on Facebook and try and match it.
Why? Is your life a perfect match of theirs?
The problem with trying to do everything in these finite amounts of time, is people often look at what others are doing without seeing the bigger picture.
I’ve seen working single mums complain they can’t get the word count that X writer does. However, X writer has no kids and works part-time from home.
It took me a while to realise that I should not feel bad that I didn’t manage what other writers did.
I’ve seen people in the 85K challenge who are writing thousands of words a day. However, their situation might be a lot different from mine.
In the end, comparing yourself to others is never a good idea. Our situations make our schedules different.
Maybe you have a job, or two jobs, kids, a house to manage, projects to do, school work, maybe you’re a carer or a volunteer.
Whatever mixture your situation is, it will be pretty unique to you because it’s not just about what you have to do, it’s also about you. Maybe you can run on 5 hours sleep, or maybe you need 9.
Maybe you have tons of energy or maybe not, maybe you share a house with others and don’t always get time on the shared computer. Maybe you type fast, maybe you type slow.
See how different things affect it?
I have written thousands upon thousands of scenes and stories since I started writing. I have written 3 full books then chopped them up and written something new.
I did a lot of this while working full time, studying part-time for a degree and running my own business.
Then add in chores, errands, dealing with family and sometimes even having a social life… meant a lot of my time was eaten away.
I still write
In the end, it is about appraising your situation, thinking really carefully about what you need to do and want to do. Then you MAKE time to write, you don’t find it.
There will always be things you can streamline or cut.
- Delegating chores to the other family members (don’t do everything yourself)
- Prepping lunches and dinners the night before (or batch cooking & freezing)
- Combining all your errands in one day
- Spending less time on social media
- Watching less TV
- Using “dead time” to brainstorm (“dead time” is like when you’re stood in a queue, stuck in traffic, sitting in a waiting room…)
- Getting up an hour earlier
- Going to bed an hour later
- Use a timer for your social media (give yourself 20 mins to check your SM platforms) then when the timer goes off, go write.
- Listen to ebooks about marketing techniques or writing techniques while you’re driving or on the bus/train or at the gym.
- Keep a pad full of questions you need to answer and when you find yourself in a waiting room at the dentist/doctor/vets etc get it out and think on them.
- For a week or two, create a Time Journal were you write down everything you do and how long it took. You’ll be surprised how much time you waste on things.
There is always time to be found and you just need to become efficient at finding it. Then try and clump it together so you have a nice stretch of writing time.
Don’t worry if you can’t, 10mins here, 30mins there is still better than having no time.
And the best tip – prioritise your writing. If your chores and errands are not time-sensitive, do your writing first.
What are your suggestions for finding that elusive Extra Time?