23 January 2012

Where Do I Find the Time?

One of the most common issues I hear about from new writers (and I've been known to make the claim myself from time to time) is that they just don't have the time to get any writing done. Now, I could go down the same path as others, and mention that all the time spent online checking Twitter and Facebook and e-mail, or catching up on all your favorite TV shows would be better served for writing instead. But that would be more like the pot calling the kettle black. All of those things are fun and entertainment, and preventing yourself from doing them is going to be like taking all of the sweets out of the house when you're on a diet. Sure, it will help for a while, but then you're going to start sneaking away to get your fix.

So, instead, let's look at some ideas for how to find a little more writing time in the same 24 hours of a day:

- Extending the length of your regular day: This depends on whether you're a morning person or a night person, but if you regularly get up at six in the morning, set your alarm for five instead (for morning people). If you regularly go to bed at ten, stay up another hour (for night people). Although an extra hour may not seem like a lot, it will tend to add up over time. Assume that a person could write 500 words in an hour, that's 3500 words a week, and in 20 weeks (5 months), you'd have yourself a 70,000-word novel.

- Utilize time spent waiting to get some writing done: Rather than just sitting around and waiting, do some writing instead. This has a wide range of applications. How much time do you figure you spend waiting in a day? At the doctor's office, at the mechanic's, at a sit-down restaurant, in airports. Although one isn't going to have every one of these on every day of the week (we hope), this is all part of a strategy to find every moment possible. Besides, a doctor's office alone may give you an hour. Plus, if you eventually get published, people will undoubtedly ask you during these waits what you're working on, which can lead to you accomplishing some self-promotion at the same time as you're writing new material.

- Utilize time you're unable to do anything else: This is somewhat along the same lines as the previous idea, but is meant to utilize time that isn't considered "waiting." Think about the time you spend in traffic (if you're not driving). Unless you suffer from motion sickness, there could be hours spent just sitting there which could be used for writing. What if you're dragged to an event for your spouse's family? Certainly, some interaction will be required, but often times, you can huddle off in a corner and spend your time writing. This can also lead to questions from family members, and thus, more self-promotion efforts...

Definitely, these ideas should help give a little more time to your day...and if you have other ideas, feel free to share them. And of course, comments and criticisms are always welcome. And if you didn't already catch my short story "Sweet Embrace", you can still check it out for free.