The famous Liz Gilbert says you can always make time for your creative work, no matter how busy your life is. I believe her. Experience has taught me this much.
A writer friend of mine asked me, quite puzzled, how I find time to write. The answer is that I make time – like every writer. Making time to write is a constant choice and commitment.
You don’t even have to be at home to create. The beauty about the art of writing is that you can do it anywhere. Nowadays, you can even write without pen and paper.
There are lots of ways to find time, to make time, to write. Use your travel time, your lunch break, snatch any amount of time from your day to play with words. Or set yourself fixed writing dates.
Anything is something more than nothing
Rome wasn’t built in a day, or so the saying goes. All the little fragments of writing you get done will create a final, finished piece eventually – much like a jigsaw.
There’s a thing called the pomodoro technique which might help you get acquainted with writing in short bursts of time. This technique requires only a timer and your commitment to sit and write.
Even if you produce only one sentence in, say, fifteen minutes, that’s more than you would’ve achieved if you hadn’t sat down to write in the first place.
Take the pressure off
Kristy Acevedo reminds us that succeeding isn’t about how many words you produce each time you write, but about creating a habit of writing, through daily commitment. (By the way, I’m still perfecting the ‘daily’ bit.)
I don’t find word counts helpful, but you might. I never meet them and always feel discouraged as a result. It’s better to just achieve a daily writing session (that’s hard enough, after all). Sit yourself down and see what comes of a short session – you can always set yourself word count goals later, once you’re on a roll with the habit of writing.
Writing definitely requires sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice worth making. You’ll believe me once you keep at it and see the results.
Writing is no lazy form of art, it’s true. But it’s more satisfying than watching TV or indulging in any other number of uncreative activities. Making a commitment to writing regularly doesn’t mean you don’t get do other things you enjoy. You just need to prioritise writing above recreational activities.
Maybe you need to give something up in order to clear some space in your life and brain to write. It could be another activity, a bad habit, a perfectionist mentality, poor self-esteem or laziness. Maybe you simply need to commit to this thing you love, writing, and really push yourself to stick with it.
Many things can arise to prevent us from writing. Think about what stops you and make the changes necessary.
The time is now
Don’t wait for the perfect conditions to start writing. Like everyone, you’ll always be busy and if you’re not busy, something else will become the obstacle.
If you’re really serious about getting somewhere with your craft, then you’re going to have to steal as many snippets of time from your schedule that you can, and just write. A lot can be written in five, 10 or 15 minutes.
And I’ll tell you something else I know (because I’ve been there), you’re going to have to make a deliberate decision to stop making excuses for not writing. Excuses displace responsibility and prevent progress.
Whatever you need to do to find time to write – do it! Now is the time to write, not tomorrow, not next week or next month. And for goodness sake, stop saying ‘one day’. One day never happens.
Now go and write, courageous one!