I think this is something that all writers struggle with. At least those writers whose writing careers don’t quite support them yet. This is actually something I’m becoming quite nervous about in light of me taking on a second job that I begin on Monday. My first thoughts are of how I’m going to be able to carve out that all too precious writing time. I really won’t know until I get started and see how that schedule is going to line up with my the schedule of my current job at the library. Needless to say, it’s going to vary by the day. But this is when the part about me MAKING time to write comes in.
Notice that I say making rather than finding, because really, if you’re just trying to find time, all you’re going to find is a million different other things to prevent you from writing. This is where the procrastination comes in, and I’ll be totally honest, today it has had it’s claws all in me. I have had absolutely nothing to do all day today, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. Nothing. This could have been an amazing day for writing, but no, at this point I’ve squandered it doing nada. But I digress. When people try to find time to write, they make up excuses. How many times have we all said, “Well, those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves” or “The laundry is really getting piled up”? Rather than make ourselves sit down and do work, we find a million other household chores to take its place. The damn dishes and laundry aren’t going anywhere. I promise they’ll still be there an hour or two later after you’ve gotten the day’s work in.
If you begin looking at it like that, or from the stand point that it is your work, I guarantee your productivity will begin to turn around. I’ll be sitting at my desk in the kitchen and my husband will come in for a drink or some other nonsense. He’ll ask me what I’m doing. I absentmindedly inform him that I’m working, without breaking my stride, and carry on. He gets whatever it was he came in for and leaves, knowing that this is my time and I’m best left to it. It’s hard to train the other inhabitants of your household to respect your work time, but it can be done. Think of it this way. If you were at work at your 9-5er, would they come in there asking you where the remote control is or trouble you with some other ridiculousness that can wait? No, of course not. They need to be taught to look at your writing time this way as well. Aside from changing the way you look at your writing time and training other members of your household to do so as well, I read an article recently in Writer’s Digest, “Making More Room For Writing,” that offered some other ideas on making time.
One of the first suggestions offered by the author, Amy Sue Nathan, was to think outside the box and have a special space for your work. Mine would be the kitchen. We no longer have a table and chairs in there, as we never used it anyway (we’re totally not the sit down at the table and at type of family), so I created my own little writing space in the corner. You have to make do with what you have, but this is a really good idea that has actually worked for me.
She also suggests giving yourself a break and not setting ourselves to such high standards of word counts and rigid schedules. Allow yourself to be flexible, as long as you’re getting the work done. Who knows? You may discover that writing early in the morning works better for you than in the evening. Experiment and try new things, just like with the writing space.
Finally, she suggests giving something up. All of the authors that she interviewed had something different that they sacrificed in order to make more time for their work. She herself gave up seeing friends or running errands during the day. Others gave up blogs that they did, sleep, and *gasp* reading! (Sorry, that’s one thing I will not sacrifice. I already feel I don’t have nearly enough time for it.) She doesn’t mean you have to give them up indefinitely, but at least until whatever project it is you’re working on is complete.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s little dose of writerly wisdom/encouragement. Until next week, keep those pens moving and the creativity flowing.