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7th December 2014

Finding the time to write

Originally, I was going to call this post ‘writing with a full time job’. I quickly realised that having a full time job isn’t why I don’t have time to write. There are about a million reasons. Unlike when I was a teenager – food never appears on its own, clothes don’t get washed, sometimes there are extra bits and pieces to do.

For the last four years I’ve just not had the time for writing that I used to have. It’s a shame. I used to be able to put a weekend aside and bash out tens of thousands of words without talking to a soul. Now there’s a whole list of things to do before I can put aside a couple of hours to write.

So what’s the challenge here? I would say it’s finding the balance between writing/social life/work. All three are important. I’m sure there are a few people who are going to think they can make a cheat sheet here (I’ll just miss out social life!). Life doesn’t quite work like that – mainly because it’s easy to burn out if you don’t give your brain a break.

So after several years of thinking, these are the ways I’ve managed to find the time for writing:

1. Set a target each month. It doesn’t have to be a big target – mine range from ‘do some spoken word’ to ‘write a 50,000 word novel and take none of the advice you’re now trying to offer’.

2. Set aside an evening each week. Treat it like you would any other plan. That is your writing time and you simply cannot do anything else.

3. Use a timer. I currently do things on rotation. Ten minutes of writing, ten minutes of tidying etc. The upside is the tidying up is so un-fun that you want to return to writing…

It’s not easy. There are days when I come home and suddenly it’s 9 and I’d much rather have a bath than sit and write. However, breaking into a routine makes such a difference. It’s satisfying to meet targets.

With that in mind, I’ve got a Christmas story on the way! So be prepared for this one – it’s going to be exciting and I’ll be giving more details next week.

Have you got any hints and tips for writing? Comment below!

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