When do you write? Do you write every day? Are you at your best first thing in the morning or late at night? Do you snatch 15 minutes to write in between a busy schedule or are you able to dedicate large chunks of undisturbed time to your writing?
I’m lucky in that I can usually find time to write most weeks. I don’t tend to write every day and I can’t spend hours and hours writing. I usually find my brain tires after a couple of hours of intense work. I work best in the morning and find it harder to get the words out by the evening.
Here are some tips I have found helpful to find the time, and the headspace, to write:
- Schedule writing time into your calendar and stick to it. You might want to do this at the start of the week or even at the start of every day. Treat it like an appointment with a friend and only cancel it if you really have no choice in the matter. Ask your family not to disturb your writing time.
- Cut back on television and checking your social media accounts. These activities can be used as treats when you have finished your writing for the day. But do your writing first!
- Be realistic – it’s better to write 200 words in a session than plan to write 1,000 and not find the time because you’ve set your goal too high.
- If it’s really difficult to find time in the day to write, consider following the principles of the 5AM Club and get up an hour earlier than your household so you can work when everyone else is asleep. It’s tough but I found that I was really productive first thing in the morning. Less so by the afternoon!
- Use ‘dead time’ for thinking – when you’re waiting for someone, cooking tea or washing up. Keep a notebook handy for flashes of inspiration.
- Reward yourself – use a tick sheet or a reward chart to monitor your progress and give yourself a treat for completing your weekly and monthly goals.
- Switch your WiFi off when writing and leave your phone in another room. In Word, you can set the view to focus and your notifications to do not disturb. You may find you work more efficiently with fewer distractions.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique – set yourself a timer for say 20 minutes and in that time do nothing but write. You cannot look things up on the internet, check your phone, make a cup of tea or even go to the loo during this time. After 20 minutes you can have five minutes to rest and then set yourself another timer. You will race through your word count in no time.
- NaNoWriMo is a great way to motivate yourself to write. Although it happens every November, you can follow its principles at any time. Set yourself an ambitious goal for the month and do your very best to achieve it.
- Find a writing buddy or group to share progress with. Cheer each other on with positive comments.
Go easy on yourself – this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re feeling tired, do something less taxing, like some internet research or some light editing. Or set yourself a tiny target – just 100 words a day maybe – it soon builds up.
At the end of the second week, the word count for my new book stands at 9,020 words. I am currently aiming for 20,000 by the end of August so I am on schedule. This won’t last!