The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, and there are no schemes that go more awry for me than my writing time. Between a day job, planning my MOH duties for an upcoming wedding, my social life, and taking better care of my health, I often feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done.
When it comes to finding time to write, there’s (unfortunately) no magic secret. I always hope that there is and scour the internet, reading article after article. They all say the same thing. You need time management and discipline.
C-R-A-P! My time management skills and discipline are just marginally okay, but I’m far from having a well-oiled life with time intentionally set aside for everything I need to accomplish. (This is probably why I’m not entirely convinced that I’m a full-fledged adult yet.)
So how do I “find” the time to write with my poor time management skills and lack of discipline? Lately, I’ve been experimenting with setting aside time twice a day to work on my writing. I do this:
- to see what days and times I’m the most productive,
- split up the different goals I want to accomplish as a writer; and
- I absolutely hate my day job, so the twice a day writing time gives me encouragement before work and recharges me afterwards so that there isn’t a day where I don’t feel happy and confident in my abilities.
To give you an idea on what I’m doing during these twice a day sessions, here’s (roughly) what my week in writing looks like:
6:30ish to 8:00ish – I work on outlining and drafting the week’s blog post. Thankfully one thing that I did do right was plan out topics in advance. I have an excel file of weekly topics for the rest of the year, so I’ll go there to see what I’m writing about that week and get to brainstorming. I’ll start by jotting down personal stories that connect with the topic and any stories or articles that I’ve read that
7:00pm to 11:00pm – When I get the chance, I hop in on the #MagicMon twitter chat, which is geared towards fantasy and sci-fi writers. Even though I don’t write strictly in either genre, it’s a great chance for me to connect with other writers to share ideas and fill up my motivation tank for the week.
6:30ish to 8:00ish – I work on outlining Project Wolf, which I’m doing while reading Story Genius by Lisa Cron. Once I’ve made it through outlining in a couple of weeks, I’ll switch gears and use this time to re-write Project Wolf. (My goal is to write it during this July’s Camp NaNoWriMo.)
I tell myself to finish the week’s blog post so I can post it in the morning. I pull up the draft and write a few sentences, but inevitably end up getting distracted by tv shows instead.
6:30ish to 8:00ish – I realize I never finished writing the week’s blog post and start typing away whatever comes to mind. I also work on filling in any research gaps I have and looking for a related photograph.
7:00pm to 9:00pm – I start off by kicking myself a little because I didn’t get this week’s blog post up during the morning writing session. I finish writing and do a couple of read throughs before posting.
6:30ish to 8:00ish – I try to use this time to do a little research on working as a writer. I’ll read up on topics such as website development, networking with other writers, engaging with readers, and effectively using social media. My goal here is to slowly build up my how-to knowledge, so I’m not scrambling to figure it all out when I have the confidence and resources to start scaling up.
Sometimes I outline. Sometimes I “forget” and catch up on tv shows.
6:30ish to 8:00ish – If I can get up this early on a Friday, I keep things light. I’ll do a little more outlining of Project Wolf or start working on the next week’s blog post. Friday morning is also the time I make posts on my Patreon page, which include blog posts or any really good moments I had outlining/writing during the week.
NO writing. I watch crappy movies on Netflix instead. #selfcare
9:00am to 12:00pm – This is the time where I hit a good writing mojo zone–probably because I don’t have to go to work and don’t need to cut myself short. In this zone I usually get through a couple chapters of Story Genius and outlining Project Wolf. Happy with my success during this time, I usually reward myself with hashbrowns.
9:00am to 12:00pm – More good mojo. More outlining. More feeling great about working on my craft. (And more hashbrowns.)
Whew! I barely got through this post without getting tired, but there it is. Currently those are my best laid schemes that, by the grace of Burns and Steinbeck’s ghosts, haven’t gone too awry.
What about you? How do you find time to write?
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Photo via Visual hunt