Thursday, 19 May 2016

Making Time to Write

How many times have we heard, or maybe even uttered, those words “I’d love to write a book, I just don’t have the time”.

Well I’ll let you into a secret – I don’t have the time either. I have a day job, I have a family. This year I have two teenagers sitting important exams, I’ve joined a running club and I’ve been helping my mother move house. Some days when everyone else is using the computer and I have a million and one other things to do it feels as if the whole world is conspiring to stop me writing.

Yet, somehow, the novel I started back in September has managed to creep up to 71K words out of a target length of 80K. It’s the longest thing I’ve ever written and the end is in sight, the finale looming.

Since I know I’m not the only person compelled to write who is also pushed for time I thought I would share a few tips with you that have helped me get this novel written.

  1. Get a smart phone and use it for all you social networking and procrastinating. That way when you do get the chance to sit down and write you write.
  2. Have a plan – I find an outline helps a lot. Mine is organic and changes as I go along, but it means that when I do get a chance to write I know exactly what happens next.
  3. Don’t edit – get that first draft down, editing can come later. I know some people prefer to make each section perfect before moving on to the next bit but chances are that section will never be perfect. Finish that first draft and then you will have something to work with.
  4. Don’t worry if the words feel stilted or don’t flow, keep pressing on, you can come back and fix it later.
  5. Try to find writing slots of about an hour. I can generally manage a thousand words in an hour but if you can only manage to find half hour slots that’s fine. Then make sure you spend that time slot writing.
  6. Don’t worry about finding a regular slot, although if you can so much the better, but if you have to fit it in here and there between everything else then so be it.
  7. Keep a tally of your word count. It’s satisfying watching it creep up and seeing how 500 words added here or there can start to make a difference.
  8. Thinking time is just as important as writing time, so take any opportunity, to give yourself space to think and play over your next scene in your head. That way when you get the chance to sit down and write the scene is all ready to go.
  9. Stay focussed on one project. It’s so easy to get seduced by that shiny new idea but if you keep hopping from project to project you’ll never get anything finished. 
  10. Finally enjoy it. Writing should be fun, a creative release.

So remember. “I don’t have the time,” is NOT an excuse – and this applies to all things in life – not just writing!