Finding time to write (or other leisure activities)

This is a timely one for myself, especially considering I missed a blog post last week due to time (in fairness, that was partially illness related).

Finding the time to write is always a problem for any writer. Part-time jobs (or even full-time jobs), family, and other commitments, can cause issues of time constraint. There are only twenty four hours in the day, you’ve got to work at using them at top efficiency. Here are the ways I’ve tried to create time (with varying success, your mileage may vary), perhaps it could help you claw back some of your own time? Of course, this doesn’t just apply for writing, it could be used for whatever your hobby is.

The Early Bird special

This one is for those of the mindset that sleep is for the week. Set your alarm an hour or two earlier than you usually would in the mornings, even on workdays. Wham! Suddenly there are extra hours in your day! Of course, this can be draining, both physically and mentally. I tried this myself for a month, and it has its pros and cons. Obviously the con is waking early, but, if you can force yourself to do it, the pro is not just extra time, but extra focus too.

I found myself concentrating very well on my task (once I had woken up). My mind was sharp and I found I wrote stronger sentences which required less editing. There is a calm serene to the early hours of the morning, perhaps that was what helped so much – I wasn’t frazzled out from my day job.

Strength in numbers can help with this one. If you are a Twitter person, then #5amwritersclub could be your heroes.

Ring-fenced time

This one requires discipline. Set an hour (or however much you can dedicate) to your writing time. Whatever limits you set, stick to it. No matter what. Does that TV show have another fourteen minutes? Stop it. Does your Facebook or Twitter desperately need to be checked again? Stop it.

Everything needs to be instantly thrown out as soon as your ring-fenced time hits, otherwise you can find your own bad habits eroding your precious time. You need to be able to police yourself efficiently. Perhaps you could set an alarm at the start of your time, a signal to drop whatever you are doing at the time? Whatever it takes, you need to be strict with yourself. Unless you can rope a friend in to hit you with a stick if you try to do anything else.

Do it whenever you get the chance

This one kind of links of from my last blog about always carrying a notepad. Beware, this is a messy one that can end up with all kinds of loose ends and editing woes – or at least that is how I found it at times. If you have a good mind to tie your elements together, this could let you get some serious headway.

You’ll need to carry something to write with at all times. It can be a notepad, a laptop, even your phone. Once you have that, it’s simple! Whenever a spare few minutes comes into your day, get writing. Scribble things down, type letters into that keyboard – just do something, even if it just an idea for a scene that you will write up when you get more time.

Of course, things are a little more haphazard with the writing this way. I found I had to edit more heavily during following runs through the manuscript, as loose threads had wormed their way in and needed to be either resolved or cut out entirely. As I said before, if you have a more ordered brain than myself, this might not be an issue.

So, there are three ways to find time to do what you want. Is there anything you do to create your own time? Feel free to share it below!

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