If you find it hard to find time to write, I want you to know that I am 100% with you.
Jobs, family, life… it all gets in the way and there are only so many hours in the day. I once heard a writer say that she got up at 2 am to write because she had kids who were early risers.
Um… all the nope.
I just can't (and won't) do that.
The thing is - if you want to find time to write, you will. Whether it's at 5 am, or 10 pm or just for 20 minutes… if you really want to do it, you can squeeze a little time out of your day for writing.
But how do you actually get something down on paper (or on screen) during that time so you end up with a sense of accomplishment? You've got to prioritize your writing.
Here are 7 ways to do that. Follow these tips and you'll find you're filling up the pages even in just the small amount of time you have.
1. Turn off ALL social media and close up those tabs.
It is SO easy to fall down the black hole of Facebook. Whenever I have it open, I'm instantly all "SQUIRREL!" at every little video and post and recipe and update I see. I'm my own worst enemy. And even though I LOVE Facebook, I've started shutting it down and closing up all the other tabs (like email, twitter, etc. etc.) that I normally tend to keep open. That one little trick sounds simple but will really make a difference and help you to focus better. And when you can focus, you can make your writing a priority.
2. Put on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
This is my most favourite trick and I learned it from the fantastic Shonda Rhimes while listening to her on an Oprah podcast. She said she has to have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to write. And when she has them on, she gets lost and can write for hours. So, the good little marketer's dream that I am, I went out and got some noise cancelling headphones 'cause Shonda told me to. (She should be an affiliate marketer). Anyway - the point is, it's true! They work! I like to put on some white noise (ocean waves crashing) and I am seriously so in the zone. I can't hear anything else, the white noise is soothing but doesn't distract me and I can really focus and get the writing done. Even when I only have a half an hour to spare, you would be surprised how much you can get done in that time.
3. CLOSE the door.
I used to try and write in my kitchen. I quickly learned that only works if nobody else is around. Then I tried writing in my bedroom in bed. Very lovely and relaxing, but I used to keep the door open and before long, my kids and my husband would wander in and chat with me. Then I migrated back down to my home office, sat at a desk and closed the door to the room. First of all, it takes away more of the home/life distractions, and secondly, it signals to everyone that I'm working. This is a priority and for the short amount of time I do it each day, I need to be left alone. It's not a hobby-it's work. So, I would suggest you shut that door if you want to be taken seriously.
4. Before you write, make a list & rank it.
I was given the tip once to write out a list of everything you do in a typical day (like get your kids to school, work your full-time job, take care of your family, etc. etc.) Then, reflect on your list and think about what's really important to you and rank it.
I'll be honest, when my kids were really wee, they were number one, 100% always at the top of the list. But then I decided that as they were getting older, it was okay if I made myself a priority. I took many years off of life to take care of them and devote myself to raising them when they really needed help. (And I say 'life' because I wasn't focused on a career, I barely read any books, I rarely went anywhere without them… I was ALL IN with parenting). But now that they're in school (and my little one is almost in school), I am okay with telling them that I need to write sometimes. At some point in my life, I had to make me a priority again as well. We still have tons and tons of family time together, I still put them to bed at night and read stories and I still take them to school and pick them up two days a week. But I also need time for me. If that's not where you're at, that's totally okay too. But-take a look at your list of priorities and find out where you can make time for you.
Start thinking about your time realistically and how much time the top-rated priorities take. You will see a pattern and will be able to see little bits of time when you might be able to squeeze in some time for yourself to write.
5. Let something go.
I once heard the quote "Women's lives come in segments. You don't have to do everything all at once" and it REALLY stuck with me. You know what? You can be a writer as well as all the other roles you need to play in your life. But maybe you can't do all of it all at the same time. Let something go. You don't have to be perfect at everything. Obviously, you can't let things like feeding the children go or a full-time paying job. But is there something you're trying to do your best at that can take a back seat right now to writing? Just remember-you can't do everything all at the same time. And that's okay.
6. Remember your love of it.
Last year, I started to forget about my intense love affair with writing-and I didn't even realize it was happening. I went through what I like to refer to as a 'mini mid-life crisis', which led me to thinking about who I was and what made me really happy. It eventually came back to writing. The process of writing makes me so happy because I enjoy it so much. It's cathartic. And soothing. And an outlet. When I remembered how much it brought into my life, it was easier for me to make it a priority.
7. Find an accountability partner.
One of the best ways to get writing done is to make someone else tell you to do it. If you have a partner who you have to stay accountable to, you are more likely to get it done. There's no way in the world I would go out in the middle of winter at 5:45 am to run twice a week if I didn't know I had two friends waiting for me in the blustery cold. Afterwards, I'm always glad I did it. Find a partner you trust and get along with well and keep each other on track.
So, that's it! Those are some of the best tips I have and have ever received on how to prioritize your writing. How about you?
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