The saying goes that if something is important enough, you will find the time. I have found this to be true. I am probably busier now than I have ever been, but somehow I still ‘find’ time to write. Often this means saying ‘no’ to other things, since there are only twenty-four hours in a day. Some things cannot be eliminated. My job, for instance, is one of those things. At this point in time I need the income, so quitting isn’t an option for me. Most of the rest in optional, but be careful not to slash the important stuff like spending time with family, or maintaining personal prayer and devotional time. Cutting back on sleep is also counter-productive, at least for me. While I do have a fairly strong ‘night-owl’ gene, I find that lack of sleep makes tasks harder and more time consuming.
Beyond the above ‘non-negotiables’, I have found that there are many areas where I can cut back on things that might keep me from writing. In other words, become choosy about how to spend ‘free’ time. Number one is television. I often turn it on while making dinner or other mundane tasks, but inevitably I get interested in a show and then end up watching the entire episode and the next and the next… A better solution is to put on some music while doing those tasks. Since there are a few shows that I really do want to watch (I can’t miss my Saskatchewan Roughrider football games…) I set my PVR to record the shows I actually want to see.
Turn off your social networking sites when it’s time to write. It is so easy to become distracted with yet another facebook message or email. While social networking and doing things online is all part of this writing gig, it should not supersede your time actually writing.
Self discipline is a key factor. To make the most of my time, I do not allow myself to procrastinate while sitting in my writing chair. Just do it. Harness your muse and get some words down on the screen. It is amazing how quickly the juices will start flowing once you get going. Don’t wait for the inspiration to come before you write. Start writing and it will follow. Even when I don’t ‘feel’ like it, I sit down at the computer with a goal and do one of two things. I set myself a time limit, (one hour for example) or I set a word count limit. (I must complete five hundred words before I do anything else.) This is something I’ve learned through participating in nanowrimo and it has carried over into my regular writing schedule.
These are just a few tips that I have found helpful, especially now that my time is at a premium.