by Joanna Maciejewska
If you ever tried to create anything with words: a short story, a blog post, or an essay, you know that writing is a time-consuming hobby. In a busy life, finding time to write can be both challenging and frustrating. So how can you do it?
Evaluate your day
Even though finding time to write might feel impossible, if you look closely, you might be surprised to find unassigned pockets of temporal space. They might seem too small at first, but as they say, you don’t look gifted horse in the mouth. If you want to write and you don’t have the time you need, you learn to work with the time you have.
In the era of smart phones, you could use one hand to type in a sentence while… brushing your teeth before the bed time. It might seem like a silly idea, but after a week you’ll have whole seven sentences (fourteen if you include the morning brushing as well).
Rearrange your day
No two writers are the same when it comes to their routine, both the everyday one and the writing one. If you’re a night owl, but you’re desperately trying to make the 5am writing work, you’ll likely fail even though it seems to work for others.
But what if that 5 in the morning seems the only time you have spare? Check if you can rearrange other things to find time for writing later in the day. Some dinners could be prepared in advance (though 5 am might not be the best time) and reheated. Maybe some other chores admin jobs could be moved to fill the morning spot, freeing space in the afternoon or evening.
Condense your day
Multitasking isn’t always the best option, but there are things that can go together. If you’re comfortable with audio books, you could move your reading to the same time you do your chores, and write in the freed time. School pickup, when you wait in your car, might become research time or even writing time itself. A lunch at day job might be a good space too, especially if you’re also looking for an excuse to skip the socializing with your coworkers every now an then.
And even if you can’t physically write, you could still use your gym or chores time to think of what you’ll write later. You might forget some of the sentences you’ll be composing in your head, but when the time comes to write, you’ll at least have an idea of what you’re trying to say and how.
Even leisure and entertainment can be condensed. For example, whenever I watch movies or series, I pick up some arts and crafts to keep my hands busy.
Don’t revolutionize your day
Big changes usually mean big failures. Think of all those bold New Year’s resolutions that fall through on January, 2nd. If you try to make drastic changes to your routine, you’ll likely only add stress and frustration to your life. Instead, explore and adapt, slowly building discipline and adjusting your life rather than turning it upside down.
Start small and start slow. Those ten minutes before bed time, even typed on your phone, could be all you need to get back on the track, while deciding you’ll try to find a full hour to write might leave you frustrated and discouraged when you can’t.
Be disciplined during your day
Sometimes it only seems that our lives are filled to the brim. Sometimes, we brush away the fact we spent an hour scrolling through Facebook or watching yet another Youtube video or reality show.
There’s nothing wrong about some relaxation time, but when you’re watching the third episode of a series “because it so good you can’t stop now” even though you were supposed to do only one a day and then write… It’s time to give yourself a solid nudge.
Be smart about your day
There’s a lot of advice out there that might be helpful, but ultimately, if something doesn’t work for you, don’t stick to it. Rearrange, experiment, search for new solutions. Be creative with your time and routine. Discipline and writing regularly seem to be essential for becoming successful. But at the same time, they don’t mean you have to write every day for an hour or two. Especially not in the beginning when you’re struggling to make things work.
Finding time to write
Finding time to write is rarely easy and almost always requires giving up something else. It not only requires discipline, but also confidence: often you need to teach others to respect your writing time.
But if writing is your dream, it’s worth it. Not in the future, not when you retire, and not tomorrow. You can start finding time to write from today.
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science-fiction writer who was born in Poland, spent a little under a decade in Ireland, and now resides in Arizona. She had stories published in Polish magazines (“Nowa Fantastyka”, “Science-Fiction Fantasy i Horror”) and anthologies (Fabryka Słów, Replika, Solaris), and she also writes in English (“Fiction Vortex”, “Phantaxis”, “The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror”). You can find out more about her and her stories at melfka.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. She also designs graphics available as gadgets for writers (stickers, mugs, t-shirts, and more).