Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Make Time to Write

You can't do it all. Trust me, I've tried. If you really want to make a go of writing, but just "don't have time," then in reality you aren't making time. See if there's anything on the list below that you'd be willing to cut down on, or cut out altogether, in order to make some writing time.


This is both the easiest and the hardest. Easiest, because the average American spends two to three hours a day watching TV. Hardest, because people who watch TV tend to be fiercely addicted to their favorite shows. Can you cut out (or rearrange) one hour of TV watching a day from your schedule?

Computer Games

Much like television, computer games can suck up a lot of time, especially MMORPGs. I used to be in a big raiding guild in EverQuest 2, and that was like having a second job. When I decided to start writing seriously I'd already switched to World of Warcraft, and the more serious I got about writing, the less time I had for WoW. I haven't played in probably three years now. The twitching stops pretty quickly, I promise.

Even worse than MMOs are solo games. Come on, I know they can be fun, but is getting to the next save point (or, gods forbid, the next level in Farmville) really worth more to you than writing?

Surfing the Web

This is possibly the worst culprit, because it so often masquerades as research. If you spend an hour or more a day online for leisure, see if you can cut that in half. Limit yourself to half an hour of browse time, and when that half hour is up, start writing. Bookmarks and Favorites exist for a reason, people. That webpage will still be there tomorrow.

Lunch Breaks

Can you eat while you type? Can you eat at your desk? If so, consider your lunch break as possible writing time. Bring a notebook or a laptop to the breakroom, or head down to the local coffee shop if you don't want your coworkers looking over your shoulder.

Other Hobbies

Do you do arts and crafts, or fly-fish, or volunteer? Consider heavily what time commitments you already have and whether or not they are more important to you than your writing. Some hobbies bring in money, some are important social outlets, some are good healthy exercise, and some are just plain too rewarding to give up. Those are good uses of your time. Hobbies that are less productive are possible fodder for your writing career.

Of course, there are lots of things that you shouldn't give up, like household chores or time with your family or your day job. But most of us don't use our true leisure time as productively as we could, and yet we still argue that we "don't have time." If it's important to you, make time. If that rerun of Doctor Who is really more important to you than writing, maybe you should stop telling yourself that you're going to finish that novel one of these days. At least you'll have a little less stress.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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