Do you often sit for hours with the intention of writing, only to have done nothing by the end of it? How many hundreds of hours have you wasted? Here’s how to never let that happen again…
Routine is an extremely important part of writing. It doesn’t seem very creative or artsy to pick a time, stick to it, and write for a set amount of time. It’s a popular preconception that with creative writing or art, that the artist should wait for the feeling to arise, for the creative juices to naturally flow and the artist will quickly grab their tools and head to the nearest workspace. In reality, if you actually want to get work done, you have to make time for it. Most people have jobs, commitments, family, friends, many other time sinks that eat into your writing time but you need to set a dedicated time aside regularly to accomplish your dreams.
If you aren’t planning your time the way you should be, and you need help with how to become more productive, this article will break it down into four easy steps that will have your novel finished in no time.
1. Chart your time
Get a planner, and write the hours down that you aren’t at work/school. Then for a few weeks chart exactly how you spend each hour. How much of that is wasted time? Analyse what you do and what you really should have been doing. Then write yourself a whole new routine and try to stick with it. Just don’t make it too impossible to upkeep, or you’ll find yourself disheartened before you even begin.
2. Set Time Aside
You might be thinking, “But I have no free time to set aside! I have a job, two kids, a partner, a dog, hobbies, friends…” Well, if that’s really your attitude, I’d give up now. If you don’t want to find somewhere in your schedule you can fit in even an hour of writing a week, well, you’re either:
- not willing to make sacrificies to achieve your goals
- not that passionate
- too busy – I’d make some changes, regardless of writing.
So which will it be?
3. Find time
Do what you can. Weekends and days off are a great time so squeeze in even a small amount of time. When it comes to writing, you are the boss of your own productivity. Go to bed early and wake up before you normally would to fit some writing in before the kids get up or you have to get ready. Watch less TV. Sacrifice Facebook and Instagram. Write while you cook dinner, write on the notes in your phone while you ride the bus or during quiet times at home or work mentally plan your story. There are so many possibilities that there’s really no excuse.
Not only should you plan your time, you should plan your story, too. I know there are two kinds of writers: the gardeners and the architects. However whichever category you fall under, you really need to plot. No matter how briefly or how in depth you want to go, you need an outline. This will stop you procrastination when you’ve set time aside only to have that blank page staring right back at you. With an outline you can check your notes, see where you’re at, and continue on even if there’s been a gap or you’re feeling unimaginative. Remember your two word mantra at all times: