The biggest mistake you can make with your writing time is believing you must have at least X hours available. When you give yourself a big chunk of time to complete an assignment, it will stretch to fill that time. When you accept whatever time is available now, you force yourself to work faster. Small chunks of work will add up to those big chunks you thought you needed. Where can you find those small chunks?
Find Small Chunks of Time
First thing in the morning is the most important time to write. Whatever you do first in your day is certain to get done. Everything else comes later. Sometimes, later never comes. If you want to become a professional writer, writing should be your first priority.
Many writers have a job to get to. Morning is a time for showering, eating, and getting out the door to work. Just getting up a half hour early will allow you to begin the day with writing before all that starts.
A half hour of writing first thing in the morning is also a way to give your writing continuity on days when there won’t be any other time available.
Breaks at work are often wasted on socializing. Does this sound anti-social? If you’ve never met someone outside of work, they are a work friend who will disappear as soon as you change jobs. Spend your break with real friends or use the time to write. The same goes for lunch. It doesn’t take an entire hour to eat. Use that time.
Commuting to and from work can be a huge time sink. If you’re using mass transit, you could be writing for the entire trip.
While waiting for anything, you could be writing. Standing in line, slow times at work, doing laundry, and even in waiting rooms.
Replace the three Ss. When the U.S. military was occupying Japan after WWII, they found there were three ways to distract people from political activity; sex, sports, and screen. These are also distractions from writing. For each of these three, you need to know where the line is between what’s important for leading a full life and what is just entertainment. Instead of killing time, you could be writing.
Those are some ways to find small chunks of time in your day. How about when there are no chunks of time? How can you work on your writing when it isn’t possible to write?
When There’s No Time, Plan for Writing
While doing a repetitive job, think about what you’re going to write when the time becomes available.
While driving to and from work, you could be thinking about what you’re going to write next. Don’t get so caught up in your imagination that it takes second priority to driving. You won’t get much writing done if you’re killed in a car accident.
While sleeping. You choose what to think about as you are falling asleep. Will you choose work problems, your social life, or your writing? What you’re thinking about as you drift off can influence what you dream about.
In today’s busy world, we are often short of time. By actively looking for opportunities to write, you will be able to get more written. As you write more, you will have more writing successes and that will increase the value of writing for you. As writing becomes more important, you will be able to drop other things from your life that have lost status and are looking more like distractions. Most of life’s activities aren’t taking you anywhere. Writing can take you lots of places.
Article by Ivan Izo.