Author Toolbox – Making Time

This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Disclaimer 1 – Apologies if I’m telling you things you already know.

Disclaimer 2 – There is a good chance I don’t take my own advice a lot of the time. Do as I say, not as I do.

Still here? Sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

I’m going to to make an assumption before I start. If you’re reading this then, like me, you’re more likely to be a part-time writer. By which I mean that writing is not our primary occupation and that we’re doing whatever we can to fit the writing in wherever we can.

So, you have a day job to pay the bills (maybe even more than one), you want to have a personal life and you want to write. Plus there’s that annoying thing called sleep. Now, how do you find the time for it all?

This is something I frequently struggle with, and I doubt I’m the only one. So I thought I’d try and share some suggestions that have worked for me.

The first thing and I realize this is beyond your control a little; if you live with someone, make sure they know what you’re about and hope that they understand and have patience with you.

Next, you have to maximize the time you do have. Making yourself a schedule can really help here but since I think another BlogHop participant is covering that one, and probably better than I could, I’ll leave that for now. Instead, I’ll focus on where you can steal back some writing time.

If you’re normally an early riser anyway, then try getting up a little earlier and getting some writing in then. Depending on your schedule this may not amount to much but remember every little helps.

Lunch time is a big place for me to personally get some words down. I work in an office and I have a minimum of an hour lunch, which I’m expected to take. Often it’s  more since I arrive early to start work before a lot of distractions start. But do I need the whole hour? Of course not. At the most, I need 15-20 minutes to actually eat and the rest can be given over to writing.

There are also other opportunities that can crop up from time to time. For example, last night while waiting for an event to start, I was scribbling away in the foyer. Or, right now, I’m writing some of this post while waiting to get a tire on my car replaced. Any time where you’re having to sit and wait on your own; doctors, dentists etc. is time where you can get some extra writing in. Just another reason to have a means of writing to hand at all times.

In the evenings, it can be difficult since you want to spend time with your family. This is where the understanding I mentioned earlier comes in. I’d like to think if they know how important writing is to you, they’ll be happy to give you some space.

If you’re giving up family time then it’s only right that you make the most of it. Which means eliminating as many distractions as possible. No TV, no internet rabbit holes to lose yourself in. And switch your phone off. Yes, I know it’s a great tool but it’s also incredibly easily to find yourself using it to check Twitter, Facebook, email or playing the latest version of Candy Crush and losing out on the time you could have been using to continue your current WIP.

When possible, the ideal solution to this would be to have a room, minus all of the above, where you can just shut yourself in and work for the duration. If this isn’t an option, then put your headphones on and get some music going. Basically, whatever you can do to remove as much extraneous stimulus as possible and immerse yourself in what you’re writing.

And when sleep does overcome and you crawl into bed, I’d suggest having a notebook or scratchpad by your bedside. There’s never any telling what might occur to you as you’re dozing or what might spark in your dreams.

That’s all for just now. Be sure to check out other #AuthorToolboxBlogHop posts and if you need help finding them, a list can be found in Raimey Gallant’s initial post here.

 

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14 thoughts on “Author Toolbox – Making Time

  1. Erika Beebe says:

    Great tips! I do some of what you do too. I get up earlier and now I love it! The house is so quiet and my brain is free of worry so I feel more creative…even when I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I try to use lunch breaks too but my area is so noisy. I don’t live far from work though and run home a few times.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Caroliena Cabada says:

    Great post! I agree that finding time to write is extremely difficult when working a dayjob. I currently work full-time myself and do take advantage of things like slightly flexible work hours, lunch time, etc. Those cracks of time during the day are so useful! So much can get done in the ten minutes you’re waiting for a friend to show up. If you think about NaNoWriMo and word sprints, it’s totally viable to get a decent chunk of words down on the page in ten minutes!

    And yes, having understanding friends and family is important as well. Especially when they support your endeavors, it can be extremely gratifying and motivating.

    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. M.L. Keller says:

    Finding the time to devote to writing is so challenging. Everyone wants mom’s attention, and I feel guilty pushing back. But I also know that I have to make time for me. I’ve tried writing after everyone else has gone to bed, but I’m no longer a night owl.
    For now, I’ve settled on setting a timer. When mom’s timer is running, it’s independent play time. When mom’s timer is off, we will do an activity together. Keeping this consistent has been a struggle, but knowing she will have my undivided attention when the timer ends, help my daughter to wait.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. raimeygallant says:

    I attended a conference last year, and one of the keynotes said don’t seek out the perfect writing situation. Writing in a private, comfortable nook with a backdrop of mountains with no distractions is almost impossible. She writes between book signings in less than ideal hotel rooms, on her commute, etc. And I’ve heard other writers say that their most productive writing time is that fifteen minutes at the beginning of the day, when their mind is fresh. Sure, it’s a chore to set your alarm earlier than you’d like, but nothing beats a fresh mind. Thanks for the wonderful advice and contribution to the #authortoolboxbloghop!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kristina Stanley says:

    Making time is so important. One summer, I got up a 4am every day just to write. The cottage was full of family and friends and I couldn’t write during the day. It did mean I needed an afternoon nap in the sunshine, but that’s pretty nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Louise Foerster says:

    Great ideas — and love the way you expressed those dastardly “rabbit holes” — appreciate the discipline that it takes to keep the writing ever going, so even when you’re waiting to have the tires taken care of, you’re hard at work! Early morning works well for me since I’m an early riser and the rest of my household is not — and we’ve learned to leave me be until I emerge with my empty coffee cup and blank look to start talking to one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. M. C. Frye says:

    I have a lot of time I can spend writing, and I squander much of it, unfortunately. For me, the moments waiting in doctor offices, at the repair shop, etc., are when I often capture ideas that have been floating semi-articulately around in my head. And those quick notes usually translate to a new scene, a new blog article, etc., before midnight.

    9 or 10 pm to midnight is my most creative and productive time of day, usually.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. K. Kazul Wolf says:

    Love these tips! I find myself living a lot of them, and strangely find myself more productive in the stolen time than when I have a large set of time set aside–probably because I let myself get sucked into that rabbit hole you mentioned. 😉 Thanks for writing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Vanessa says:

    It can be so difficult to make time. That’s why I carry a small notebook with me everywhere I go. I mean, I never know when inspiration will strike. I also use voice to text on my iPhone and leave myself notes.

    Liked by 2 people

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