One of the hardest questions a writer has to ask is “When do you have time to write?” unless you’re one of the lucky few to receive a massive advance right out of the gate, odds are you have another job, or means of income, to allow you to have a roof over your head and more than ramen noodles in the pantry. It’s the reality of any aspiring writer, even published and successful writers are often teachers, or copywriters, even fitness trainers.
Writing basics are some of the most difficult areas to tackle. Whether you are determining how well you write, or going back to basics, it won’t mean a thing if you cannot find the time to get any writing done.
As an Integrated Producer at an ad agency, my commute is at times brutal. With two offices nearly 65 miles apart, 10-11 hour days are not uncommon. In addition to that, with a wife, two dogs, a cat, and a baby, it seems the only time I have to write is from 9 o’clock at night to how late I can push myself. It’s the reality of the situation.
The best thing about it is that I’ve done what you must do, as an aspiring writer; get efficient with the time that you have been given. There is often no other alternative besides simply making the time, finding a little here and there by removing some time-wasters, and capitalizing on the time that you have available.
Here are a few tips:
1) Use a timer to either track the time you spend writing, or track a time-waster where you’re spending 90 minute stints on social networks, simply give yourself a five minute limit on each site, then bar yourself from going on until you finish a chapter/1,000 words, 5 pages, some measure of success.
2) Take a week and monitor how you spend your day. You’d be astonished what time you can regain if you see just how much you’re spending in the shower. Are you multi-tasking to a fault? Keep track of your day for one week, then see were you can shave time.
3) Keep a log of how much you’ve written in a certain period of time. Let’s say you write 500 words in 45 minutes. See if you can write 550 in 45 minutes, then 600, you get the idea. Also see if you can add a few more minutes. Even if you keep the same pace as your first attempt, 1 hour would result in over 660 words written.
4) Pick nights or days to get something done. Create a checklist or weekly schedule. Sunday is blogging day where you line up all your entries for the week/month. Then Tuesdays and Thursdays are for creative writing, and Saturdays are for editing. Make it what you can, or need, to make it work.