How to Write More When You Have Less Time
Do you have a burning desire to write every day but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time?
You go to work for 8 hours or more.
You spend time with your kids while they’re with you.
You do things for others whenever they ask because you’re a nice person.
Any of that sound familiar?
I’ve done all that, and more.
You don’t want to be selfish. Your kids need you. And if you ignore them while they’re young so you can write your heart out, you’ll regret it later.
You can’t quit your job to write your novel unless you’ve got money put away. If you don’t, you have to squeeze it in whenever you can.
The last one is one that trips a lot of us up.
We all want to say yes. We want people to think we’re helpful. We want to be involved and make a difference. But can you really do it all?
The problem with saying yes
You can’t say yes to everything.
It’s easy to say no when it costs too much.
You say no with no problem when someone you don’t really like asks you to help.
But when your family and friends come along and want to monopolize your time, you’re in trouble.
How can you keep them happy and still reach your goals? And how can you do that without them thinking you’re a selfish jerk?
If you don’t plan your time, someone else will.
It might not be a flesh and blood person you know. There are countless other things vying for your attention:
- TV shows
- The news
- Video games
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- and much, much more!
We don’t live in a quiet world. If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably considered becoming a hermit at least part-time. Since the advent of always on internet and hundreds of TV channels, the only way to get some alone time is to unplug everything.
Write with the internet off. Or at least turn off those incessant notifications. The world won’t stop spinning while you’re at your desk. The news will still be waiting for you after you draft your masterpiece.
So quit worrying about it.
Schedule time for yourself. Plan time with your family. Have coffee with your friends. You can schedule your whole life if you want. Why give control over your time to others when you can decide how you’ll spend it?
It can be as rigid or as flexible as you want. Just decide what you want out of life and how much time you need to spend to make it happen. Since time is limited, keep it down to about 5 or 6 things at a time.
Tell your friends and family what you’re doing.
You’ll have to say no sometimes.
No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to add a single word to it. But your family might want more, so you can add this.
When your friend Sam invites you to lunch and you don’t want to go, or you have other things to do, just say:
“Thanks for asking. I’m not able to do that this week. Can we do it later?”
You can be specific about how much later if you know a time frame.
You can explain that you have work to do if you want. But it’s not necessary. It depends on how well you know the person asking and what you want from that relationship.
And don’t feel guilty. Your time is yours. Do what you want with it.
When you tell your family, say something like this:
“I’m working on a book. I’ll need 10 or 15 hours a week to do that. I’ll be sure to give you two hours at dinner every night to talk, play games, and do whatever you want. Fair enough?”
When you meet their needs, they’ll help you meet yours.
Don’t eat breakfast until you’ve written something.
I never skip breakfast.
I’m a morning person. I write before the sun comes up. I have coffee, but not until I’ve written something.
- An article
- A journal entry
- A chapter in a book.
- A lesson in a course
- A rant
It might be a mess of words or a masterpiece. It doesn’t matter. You can’t edit a blank page, and you can’t publish one either.
If you really want to write no matter how busy you are, make writing as important as eating breakfast or doing your morning yoga. You wouldn’t miss that, would you?
Not if you want to enjoy the benefits.
I eat because I know if I don’t, I’ll be hungry before it get to work.
I stretch in the morning because I know if I don’t, I’ll be stiff later.
I pray because life is crazy.
I write because it makes me feel life is worth living.
Find your own reason and run with it.
We need your words, your message, and your insights. Don’t let time steal that from us.