Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Managing Your Writing Time

The number one question I'm asked when I tell people I blog is "How do you find time to write?" Everyone has heard the adage "You don't find time, you make time." I feel kind of stuck-up saying that even though it's true. So instead I simply say, "I get up at 5 am to write."

This repose is usually met with one of two responses.

1. I couldn't do that.

2. I have to go to work at that time so I can't.

If I hear answer #2 I get it--work has to come first, families need to be provided for. But #1? If you're going to complain about how you don't have time to write, then do something about it!

Yes, getting up at 5 is hard. I don't do it everyday. Sometimes my kids are sick and I'm up all night. Sometimes other obligations have to take precedence. But I try to do it every day that I can. More importantly, getting up to write is at the top of my to-do list for the day. If I don't do that first, it won't happen.

The other thing that's helped me through is having someone to write with. Mon-Fri at 5:30 am I meet James Duckett, Donna Weaver, and Shelly Brown at the iwrite chat room. We keep each other accountable so that it's harder to miss days.

The whole point is, if you want to write and blog you may have to sacrifice to get there. 5 am doesn't work for everyone, but there is something that can work for you.

I challenge you to find out how to make it all work. If you have to sacrifice a little blogging to work on your book, do it! I didn't blog for half of February becasue I was busy with edits. Make the effort and you'll be able to reap the reward.

How do you find time to write?

P. S. Please, Please, Please, check out this post by Leigh Covington about a donation bomb for Ben Wolverton this Friday. It's a great cause!

30 comments:

Louise Bates said...

Cutting back on blogging to only one day a week has been the most helpful time-management trick I've learned. The getting up at 5 thing - I've tried it, and it leaves me cranky and exhausted all day, and before I know it I've started going to bed at 8 to compensate, and I'm not really giving myself any extra time at all! For me, it's about working with the hours I already have in the day, not trying to squeeze more in.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If you really want to write, you will find the time! My last two books were written during NaNo and then BuNo, so I was writing a lot AND maintaining my blogging and other necessary duties. It can be done!

Adriana Dascalu said...

I love writing but I know no organization, so... It's messy. I have days when I write 4000-5000 words, I have weeks I don't put the pen on paper (or fingers on the keyboard) not even when I come up with great ideas.

I so envy you for being able to work on a schedule! I really need someone to force me to write, to keep me motivated.

I think I'm going to check out that Iwrite network.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think our first reaction to a lot of things is "I can't do that" but I think the trick is to then stop and say to ourselves "Wait! Why not? Maybe I CAN do it...."

Karen Jones Gowen said...

A writer will always find a way. A non writer says I can't.

Tara Tyler said...

make it fit! a saying of my mom's that applies. during school, i get up that early and love my sleep in time on wknds!

i write when i can fit it. my "free time" is split between housework which never ends, and writing/blogging. this spring, baseball has taken the biggest bites from that time. sooo many games as they get older & more innings!

not to mention, preparing for my book launch! so i have cut back on blogging - something's gotta give, right!

ps, i awarded you on monday =)

ilima said...

You're amazing for getting up so early. I'm a night owl myself. As a homeschooling mom, it's really hard to find time. But I want to be a writer, so I sacrifice to make it happen. I lose precious sleep late at night, but it's worth it. At least for me.

Morgan said...

I want to hug this post!!!! Yes. We have to sacrifice. We have to! I've gone through phases with how I write. But more often than not I sacrifice sleep whether I get up super early or stay up super late. It's necessary!

Leigh Covington said...

Love this post Jennie - we really have to MAKE the time. Life is busy and hectic, and sometimes it takes a while to find your balance, but the point is that we have to make it happen. :) And thanks for mentioning Ben's donation bomb! You rock girl!

Carrie-Anne said...

I'm the opposite in regards to my writing time. Instead of getting up super-early to write, I fell into the habit of routinely staying up till like 1, 2, 3 in the morning to write.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Writing for me is a bit like an obsession...I don't know how to not do it. I've written chapters on my iPhone sitting on doctor waiting rooms. If I don't do it a bit each day, I get a shaky. Okay, not shaky, but really, really crabby...like an addict without a fix does.

Robin said...

I'm a 5 am writer too. I like the idea of finding others who write at the same time to keep my accountable.

My thoughts: We make time for what matters most.

S.P. Bowers said...

If you really want it, you find time for it. It may take sacrifices, but that's how you know you want it.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm with you! Just like exercise, you don't FIND time. You have to MAKE time. If writing is really important to you, you will do it. I know of an author who had 15 minutes a day available to write. He used it well and finished his book in a year. It's been published. Excuses are just that: excuses.

Gina Gao said...

I've tried dividing my time between blogging and writing. It's working out so far!

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Sharon Bradshaw said...

I focus in the evening on the writing time I'll have the next day.If I don't think I'm going to have enough hours to write what I want to, which at the moment is the word count on the novel and articles to advertise my charity Anthology, this gives me an opportunity of finding that time. There's usually things like television programmes I can live without if I have to. Writing is more important.

Charlie Holmberg said...

Love this post! Waking up early, though dreaded, is my trump card for when life gets too hectic, which will surely happen once kids come along. I really admire people who go out of their way to accomplish their goals!

Julie Luek said...

Too often (like now, for example) I let blogging be my procrastination, especially if I don't have any particular projects to work on.

Heather Holden said...

Great post! I agree, if you want to do something badly enough, you will find a way to do it, even if sacrifices must be made. Like, I gave up on a lot of TV shows this past year, since it felt more important for me to use that time for art. I will also purposely disconnect the internet sometimes so it doesn't distract me from what I hope to accomplish that day!

John Wiswell said...

I'm definitely one of those time-makers. I've studied what works for me and built a writing period in-between waking and my first meal of the day, with potential to roll back into it after lunch or in the evening if my neuromuscular syndrome isn't acting up. Experience makes it a great deal easier; accountability became a habit eventually, and I expanded on what I expected from myself. I may be on the verge of my next great trick, jumping from word count goals to plot point goals.

Leslie said...

You inspire me! Especially that you do that every day with a baby too. Making the time for writing has been a big struggle for me but since this year's Storymakers I've been working almost each day at fitting it in. Maybe have to look into the iWrite network too. sounds like a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Love this advice! I especially admire your ambition, too. :) I'm a night owl, so writing in the morning doesn't work for me. However, I make sure that as soon as I get home for the day, I go to my computer and write. Discipline sets aside writers from the amateurs.

Demetria Foster Gray said...

What a great idea having accountability partners for writing. I've never heard of anyone doing that before so you have opened my eyes to a new possibility.

I've heard of fitness work-out buddies, and dieting buddies but never writing buddies. Thanks for the new school of thought. Now, the only problem is locating a writing buddy whose ideal writing time fits mine.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Thanks for the friendly pressure to wake up. It totally works :)

Nicole said...

Sometimes I take a mini tape recorder with me in the car so I can squeeze every bit of writing time out of a busy day! ;)

Imogen Elvis said...

That's great advice. I don't get up early to write, but I admire people like. I make a set time each day, right after dinner, and I bribe myself to work by telling myself I can't play computer games until I've written. Sometimes I fit it in during the day too. And I have a daily word count goal which I try to hit every day too. It's definitely a matter of setting a time and sticking to it for me.

Mark Noce said...

Great that you're so dedicated:) I write whenever the baby sleeps...if I am not also sleeping:)

Krista McLaughlin said...

5 am - I am definitely impressed! I really need to make a special time for my writing. I used to dedicate at least 3 hours on Saturday, but my Saturdays have been busy for over a month. Maybe I should consider cutting some sleep time. ;)

Anonymous said...

We do have to make the time. My goal is 1K/day, so if I can manage half of that on my lunch break and half when I get home, I'm good. 5AM, though? You're a trooper!

Livia Peterson said...

I make time to write despite life is hectic. It's impossible for me to wake up at 5am, so perhaps I need to reserve time to write.