Think You Don’t Have Time to Write? These Tips Will Change Your Mind
by Marianne Stenger
Posted: August 03, 2015
Being too busy is one of the most common excuses would-be writers make for not spending as much time as they’d like on developing their craft, but the fact is that very few writers are actually able to spend their every waking moment doing what they love most.
Many of today’s successful authors including Stephen King and J.K. Rowling initially had to hold down day jobs and squeeze in their writing whenever they had a free moment.
The key is to plan ahead and make your writing a priority no matter how busy your schedule may be, and these tips will help you do just that.
1. Write first thing in the morning
Research has shown that we’re most focused in the first three or four hours after we wake up, so instead of spending those early hours checking email or doing other things that don’t require too much mental energy, make an effort to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour on your writing when you wake up each morning.
2. Take your writing with you
If your schedule is too busy to set aside large chunks of time to write, try taking your writing with you and jotting down a few sentences whenever you have a spare moment, like during your lunchbreak or while waiting for your bus or train to show up. The quickest and easiest tool to use for this is a notebook and pen, but failing that, you can always use your phone to record your thoughts or ideas on the spot.
3. Be a productive procrastinator
If you tend to procrastinate, you may as well be productive while you’re at it, and research shows that “productive procrastination” or “structured procrastination” is actually possible.
So how does it work? Apparently, by placing daunting or even impossible tasks at the top of your list and moving other responsibilities (like writing another page of your story or finishing a blog post) further down on the list you can actually end up getting a lot of important things done first, because the daunting tasks make everything else seem far more doable.
4. Use distractions to your advantage
Although there are certainly times when it’s important to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand, research shows that distractions can also foster creative ways of thinking and help you come up with ideas or solutions to difficult problems.
So instead of struggling to block out every distraction that creeps up on you while writing, try to use it to your advantage by jotting down what you’re thinking or seeing at that moment. This will not only help you get the thought out of your head and continue working, but it may even help you stumble on one of your best ideas yet.
5. Schedule your writing sessions
Sit down and adjust your schedule so you can fit in at least one writing session each day, even if this means cutting down on TV time or something else you enjoy doing in your downtime. Once it’s part of your schedule you’ll have no excuses, and even if it’s just half an hour of concentrated work each day, at least you’ll be progressing towards your goal.