The thing about writing is you have to sit down and get it done. There are no shortcuts. Just you and the keyboard in harmony or despair – sometimes both in the same half an hour.
I have discovered the key to finding time to write is not to go looking for it in the first place. Your life will already be filled or else your natural instinct to want to relax will kick in. There is no free time to write. That is why you have to carve it out of your everyday routine. It is the only sustainable way to achieve your long term goals and call yourself a writer unless you have invented the ability to stretch time in which case call me.
I happen to be a morning person. I love mornings! I am an early riser, the earlier the better. I love the solitude the new day brings when it is just me, my dog and a cup of tea as the world wakes up around me. I find writing early in the morning easy. Mentally, I get out of the way and just let the words flow. I do keep one eye on the clock because I have a forty-five minute window to make the magic happen. The reason I have a wonderful forty-five minute window? I get up early just to write.
It’s no good asking an evening person to do what I do. It would be like asking me to write good stuff at ten o’clock at night. It’s not going to happen.
Once you know what suits your natural rhythms you will know the best time of day (or night) to write. Then you will need something to aim for – a set period of time or a word count target. I have both. I try for 1,000 words in my forty-five minute window.
If I have had a break from my morning routine I know that the first few mornings back in the saddle will take some adjusting to. I did this a couple of weeks ago – the first day I managed no more than 300 words, the second day it was 750. By the third day I had hit my stride. I didn’t beat myself up about not reaching the target on the first two days. I was simply pleased with the quality of what I wrote and the fact that I had SHOWED UP.
Sometimes writing is all about demonstrating your commitment to the project and in yourself as a writer. Showing up for a writing session, day after day, is what gets a book written. We can all hit a rich seam of creativity for a few hours at a time but it is the sheer slog that pushes a writer over the finish line.
So my tips for getting the writing done are simple:-
- Find the time of day or night that suits the rhythms of your body best and carve out writing time from it.
- Set yourself a realistic limit on time and/or word count for your writing sessions.
- Show up, day after day, week after week.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short of your word count target, just be pleased you still showed up.
- If you break the routine of showing up, get back to it as soon as you can.
- When you reach a milestone in your work in progress choose a little treat for yourself.
- Keep showing up until the book is finished.
Before you know where you are, you will be ticking milestones off your list and your writing sessions will be incorporated into your days as if they have always been there.