I like a lot of writers hold a full time job in addition to the writing that I do. So how do I find the time to write? Somewhere in between working forty hours a week, dance class, family, my boyfriend, friends, podcasting, the list goes on and on. There's a million and one reasons that could keep me from writing and sometimes they do, but there's a few things I do to protect my precious little writing time.
I get most of my writing done on the weekends, usually on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. If I know I have a busy weekend coming up I try to block of a time to do some writing and sometimes I have to think weeks out. Likewise if I have a less busy weekend, I ahead of time will block off a larger chunk of time for writing so that I don't schedule things over that time.
When I block off my time for writing, I also try to set some goals on what I'd like to get done. I'm a very goal oriented person so if I say I'm going to do something, I do my best to do it. Do I always make my goals? No, but there are times where I go above and beyond them and that makes up for it. Goals keep me grounded and when I meet my goals or go beyond them, I feel an extra sense of accomplishment.
I put it on Facebook.
This may sound a bit silly but those of you that are friends with me on facebook probably see me posting a lot that I'm writing or editing. The reason I do this is twofold. One, if I put it on Facebook, I'm making myself accountable for it. If I say I'm doing it, I better be doing it. Otherwise, I just became a big fat liar to all my Facebook friends. That's a lot of people I'd have to say I'm sorry that I lied to and frankly I just don't have that kind of time. Likewise, if I post that I'm writing and twenty minutes passes and I'm still on Facebook, twitter, Google, whatever, I can say to myself "Hey you just told everyone you were writing you best get to it." It goes back to goal setting a bit. I'm holding myself to my goals and the things I'm saying I'm doing.
The second reason I post to Facebook is purely motivational. Every time someone likes one of my posts that says I'm editing, or writing or that I wrote x words that day, is one person saying "hey great job!" Everyone needs a cheerleader every now and again and although I may not talk to everyone of my friends in person every day, interacting with them on Facebook gives me that extra boost in confidence and makes me want to write even more. So thanks to every single person that has ever liked one of my posts about writing, it means more to me than you will ever know!
Caving in to temptation... sometimes.
Sometimes I cave in and do something else, even when I tell myself I'm going to write. I say hey I'd rather be doing..... and then I go do it. I let myself cave because if my heart really isn't in it, I'm not going to produce my best work or give it my full attention. I also cave because it feels like I'm being naughty, like eating that cookie when you know you really shouldn't. It feels a bit like a bonus reward! I like writing don't get me wrong but like your day job sometimes you just need some time off. So if your head really isn't in it, take a break for the day. That said, when I let myself have a break, I only allow one break. The next scheduled writing time, I sit down at my computer and get stuff done. No matter how much my brain says hey let's go do something else I can then say, "You know I skipped out on writing the last time and now I need to get down to business." Guilt trip and writing all in one fellow swoop!
So those are some of my tips and tricks to protecting my writing time and sticking to it. What tricks do other people use?