Wish you could find more time to write? Join the very large club.
And have you noticed the very moment you try to find more time for writing projects, non-writing items suddenly quadruple in size and urgency?
I’ve realised that trying to “find time” is precisely where we’re going wrong. We need to take it.
We need to grab it, carve off a chunk and protect it from all invaders. Sound a bit too Game of Throne-sy?
Bang on, dear reader. We need to get brutal. There’s only one person on the planet interested in protecting your writing time and that’s you. It’s time to pull up the drawbridge and fill the moat with piranha.
Want to get that project finished this year?
Here’s your 9 point guide to carving out more writing time.
1) Identify exactly what it is you want to achieve
Write it down and stick that note above your computer. Find a writing buddy to share your intention with. (Then enter a binding blood pact to stick to the plan…okay maybe don’t do that but you take my meaning.)
2) Break down the BIG task into a list of SMALL, do-able tasks.
Achieving one small task after another is so do-able! These might be specific tasks that build towards completing the whole project or target related tasks e.g. write 500 words per writing session, write 2 scenes per session – whatever works for you.
3) Identify the general life activities you really don’t need to do.
Add up how much time you spend on these time wasting activities every week. Prepare to be horrified.
4) Schedule a regular writing date with yourself and put it in your calendar.
Here’s a crazy thought. Your writing date could replace one of those time wasting activities. Make an appointment and stick it in your calendar. It doesn’t matter if you schedule a day a week or an hour a week or an hour a day – repetition is the key. The more you turn up the easier it will become.
5) Protect that appointment.
Don’t allow anyone or anything else to bump it – you’re simply not available at that time. Be aware that well-intentioned or selfish or just plain oblivious people will frequently assail the castle wall so you need to get firm about it. You’re busy at that time. Prepare yourself for people getting irritated when you say no to them, but say no anyway.
6) Protect that goddamn appointment!
That’s right, it’s worth repeating! It’s in the calendar – you need to treat this appointment like any other important appointment. It only gets canceled in case of illness, injury, crisis or death (I’m not a complete monster.)
7) Show up and focus solely on your project.
This time is ring-fenced. Turn off your phone, close your inbox, shut down social media and tell your nearest and dearest you are not to be disturbed for the chosen amount of time. Sure, they might not like it but hey, you don’t like having an unfinished project sitting in your drawer…
Struggling to choose which project to focus on? Let me help – grab my FREE Creative Action Plan.
8) Tick off each writing appointment on your calendar.
Once you’ve completed that writing session – give yourself a tick, it’s stupidly satisfying. And if you’re initially struggling to stick to your allotted time – give yourself a reward at the end of the session e.g. If I write for one more hour I get to eat eclairs, watch DR. Phil, grab a coffee (or whatever it is you like to do.)
Scientific studies indicate that forming a new habit generally takes between 3 weeks and 2 months. Yes, there will be moments when you don’t want to stick to your scheduled appointment but the more you do, the easier it will become. And it is so satisfying when you see the small, regular pieces of work suddenly start looking like a sizable chunk of work and then an awful lot like a nearly finished project.
Go well friends – you are going to feel amazing when you have finished your project.
Need some help to write more often and nail your writing goals? Check out The Writing Room.
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