Finding the Time to Write


Have you ever told someone about a project or hobby you’re working on only to have them reply that they wish they had time for something like that?  As a budding writer trying to learn my way around freelancing, I do a lot of things on my own time, in other words, not during “real work” hours.  I might get up extra early, stay up a little later than I would like, or even have the occasional middle of the night break-through that rousts me from bed, but I find these stolen moments.

I have done exercises with people who claim they’re too busy for things that they’d really like to do.  I start by writing “168” at the top of the page.  That is how many hours all of us have in a week.  Subtract out a good 56 hours for sleeping and 50 hours for working and commuting, give or take, and you still have over sixty hours a week to do with what you please.

This is over-simplified of course, but it’s meant to show you how to find time to write, read, or whatever it is you like to do.  It helps to take a calendar and actually block out your obligations.  Once you have what you need to do mapped out, you’ll find little pockets or blocks of time. You don’t need to deprive yourself of exercise, socializing, or leisure, just schedule them in your calendar.  This can also be a real eye-opener since most people do not realize how much time they spend in front of the TV.

November brings National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo to those of us crazy enough to compete.  This challenge has people writing a book of at least 50,000 words in 30 days.  I met this challenge in 2012 but didn’t commit last year.  I have been pondering whether or not I can do it this year with a new job, and a move to a new house in a new city.  But I really want to.  I mean really want it.  So this year, armed with a calendar and small blocks of time, I will try to hammer out a couple thousand words a day.  I will start out with a solid outline, adequately developed character backgrounds, and a well-stocked treat drawer.  Because if you have the time, and the right treats, the rest somehow falls into place.



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