I’m a busy guy. In addition to a full time job, I have two blogs to write and manage, a pair of ongoing novel series, six kids, (we are a combined family; both my wife and myself brought six kids to the marriage) two dogs, a cat, and a rabbit. My wife also owns her own business (an online auction business, americancountryauction.com), so I spend time helping her out when she needs me. Yeah, my life is a bit crazy.
I’m blessed in that I have a day job that requires my presence for a twelve hour shift but doesn’t have twelve hours of work, so I manage to get a lot of writing done on the clock. However, that hasn’t always been the case. For a long time I struggled to get in any writing time. However, the power of the writing bug is too strong, so I sought out other writers who tried to juggle day job, family and authorship.
Here are some of the methods I use that help me get in writing time through my busy day.
Just make the time
Yep, lots of people say this, and it’s true. If you convince yourself that you don’t have the time for something, you won’t. But as soon as you become determined to make the time, magically you’ll find a way to get it done.
Set daily goals
Having a daily goal can help you stay focused. No matter if you say your goal is 1,000 words daily, a scene for your upcoming novel, or a page for a magazine article, having that daily goal will help keep you focused. Don’t make the daily goal too big; I have found that if the goal is big, I won’t start writing unless I have a big block of time to write in…which probably won’t happen. And if I hit my goal and still have time? I just keep on writing…just in case I don’t meet my goal the next day.
This is simple but effective, and is related to the daily goal. Once you set that daily goal, WRITE EVERY DAY! Consistently plug away at your writing, and no matter how small of a goal you set for yourself, you will make progress. Consider this: if you set a goal of 250 words per day, in one week you will have written 1750 words. In a month, you will have 7600 words…that’s two chapters in an average length novel. And 250 words is nothing…I can do that fifteen minutes.
Find a quite time
Do you work the eight to five weekday hours? If so, let me suggest you get up an hour or two early each day and write. This is exactly what I used to do before my current work schedule. Back then, I left for work at 7:15am, but I got up at 4:30. This gave me two hours of uninterrupted, no-kids-music, no-dogs-barking, no-TV-blaring time for writing.
Try to find your own quiet time…lock yourself in your bedroom at night, get up early in the morning…whatever it is, find that time when you can work without distraction. You will be amazed at how productive you are.
Tell me if this is you. You sit down at the computer to begin to write. You see email messages in your inbox, so you check them first. Some of the messages have interesting internet links so you check them out. Then you check Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Before you know it, an hour has gone by and you haven’t even started to write.
I’ll admit that I have this problem. So what to do? Well for starters, you can set your computer up to NOT notify you of emails. There are also some great distraction free web apps so you don’t spend all of your time surfing the net (Leechblock for Firefox and stayfocused for Chrome are two that come to mind). And don’t forget setting up your writing software to fill the entire screen. Most writing software can do this, although some do it better than others. If you really have trouble with this one, do an online search for distraction free writing software. There are plenty of both free and paid apps that give you nothing more than text and a blank screen.
Take advantage of the little times
There are plenty of times through the day where you have just a few minutes to free time. USE THEM!!! Ben Franklin said “Idleness is the Dead Sea that swallows all virtues.” Use all of the time you have wisely. If you keep an eye your kids while they are doing their homework, this could be a time to get in a few minutes. Do you ride public transportation to and from work? What about your lunch break? I scarf down my lunch in about seven or eight minutes, leaving me the rest of my one hour lunch break to write.
Using these methods, I have written a novella in less than a month (I am currently editing the work). I have also managed to get several magazine articles published in that time, as well as countless blog posts. So give these tricks a try…and if you have some tricks of your own, be sure to let me know about it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Please leave comments in the section below.