It can often be difficult to find the motivation to work on your novel even if you consider writing your full-time job. But if you really do have a full-time job, finding the time to write can often be just as difficult as finding the motivation. You think you’ll have this time when your work day is over, but before you know it, you’ve spent all the time you had dealing with other life necessities when you got home, and suddenly it’s midnight and you’re way too tired to even think, let alone write. As an editor who works from home, I myself often get tricked into thinking that I’ll have plenty of time to work on my own book, but instead spend all of my creative energy helping others improve theirs. Because of this, I’ve developed a few tricks to ensure that I (almost) always take just a little bit of time for my own projects each day. This way I don’t have to feel like I’m adding to my already-full plate.
1. Take advantage of “writing streaks.” Twenty-minute bursts of creativity can be incorporated whenever you have spare time throughout the day, but my favorite time to utilize them is right after meals (especially breakfast), when I normally waste half an hour on my phone or computer messing around instead of doing any kind of work. Just set a timer for twenty minutes, and challenge yourself to write as fast as you can without worrying about how “good” it is (you can always fix it later!). You’d be surprised how much work you can get done when there’s a ticking clock in front of your face. My average is about 500 words per 20-minute burst. Multiply that by three meals and you get 1500 words a day. Not too shabby when you have so many other commitments.
2. Speaking of phones, did you know that the average person spends about three hours a day on their phone? Think of all the time that you could be writing down notes about characters or scenes instead of obsessively checking social media. Next time you’re fiddling with your phone while in line at the grocery store, try writing just ONE sentence. Sometimes one is all you need to get those creative juices flowing, which will help spark your imagination for the scene you can write when you have more time.
3. Bring a notebook (or even your computer) to your “real” job to get some work done when you have downtime. This doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, depending on what or where your job is, but I personally have always managed to find a spare 15-30 minutes to work on my own writing at any job I’ve ever had (whether it’s during a lunch break, show intermission, etc.).
4. If you’ve read one of my other posts, you know that I’m a big proponent of the idea of playing your scenes like a movie in your head while you’re doing something where you can’t write (like driving or exercising). If you watch the next scene in as much detail as possible, you’ll have created a basic outline for yourself that you can use in the future without even having to be in front of a computer.
5. Join a writing group so other people will force you to write (like Writer’s Atelier!). These groups typically have frequent in-person meetings at convenient times (like the weekend), so you can attend and be encouraged by like-minded people without interfering with your own work schedule. Only being able to write for a couple hours a week at a meetup may not be the fastest way to get a book done, but it will definitely inspire more work than if you were dependent solely on yourself for motivation.
How do you find time in your busy day to remember to write? Let us know, and don’t forget to follow Writer’s Atelier on social media for some daily writing inspiration. Happy writing!
Taylor Simonds is an Orlando-based professional editor and writer. She is currently a contracted manuscript editor for Write My Wrongs and a staff writer for CollegeFashion, and has previously worked in writing and editing for Anaphora Literary Press and MuggleNet. She is a fan of all things literary and is never without a book, but in her free time she can most often be found wandering Disney World, vintage shopping, or working on her first novel, which she wishes would just finish itself.
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