Any writer used to the industry will know that the publishing industry is quite difficult to become involved in. Most writers, unless they are in the later stages of their career, will have multiple jobs. Writing is an occupation that takes up a great deal of time, and oftentimes, the outcome does not reflect how much effort went into creating.
And yet, we continue to write.
Why? Because it is one of the most rewarding occupations. Creating something from nothing is a talent, and one that can be used to reach countless people. To make it a little easier for the writers juggling life, work, and passion, here are a few tried and true strategies to make the most of all of it, so you can write, even when you don’t have the time!
#1 - Plan your writing time in the morning before work.
Most people working a traditional workday will have the most free-time at the beginning and end of each day, rather than during the day itself. To maximize that time, take five minutes in the morning, before you begin your workday, to plan for what you want to accomplish in the next twelve hours, so you can easily jump into working instead of struggling to remember what you want to work on. Then, at the end of the day, you can sit right down and jump into your flow, without the extra time taken to realign yourself.
#2 - Use tools like dictation or speech-to-text apps to "write" while you drive.
Many people must deal with worryingly long commutes, and unfortunately, it is not safe to write in a moving (or even stationary) car. However, you can still make progress on your projects. Using dictation tools, such as the microphone app on your phone, you can speak your story aloud while keeping your eyes on the road. This also creates the benefit of hearing your words out loud, and getting a better idea of how the flow of your prose is coming across. Listening back on your recordings later is a great way to get another sense of editing for your stories.
#3 - Use timeline work to your advantage in stolen moments throughout the day.
Of course, to be able to dictate your story to yourself, you have to know where the story is going in the first place. This is where timeline work comes in. Instead of using your precious moments at the beginning or end of a long day to try to get in the flow of writing prose, concentrate instead on creating timelines. Use shorter stretches of time in between your daily tasks to jot down ideas that can be formed into a proper outline with which to write. This requires less concentration to produce results, as many writers struggle to write for shorter amounts of time, with frequent stops and starts.
#4 - Plan your work, not your time.
The main strategy for making the most of your day is to plan your work, not your time. This one may sound cliche, but there is a lot of merit to it! Every writer knows the struggles of slotting time into your busy schedule to write, sitting down, and . . . nothing. Those times when you’re ready, the document is open, but you are hitting writer’s block. It is one of the most frustrating experiences, but if you focus on planning for your work, instead of fitting that hour into your day, you might have an easier time writing.
As mentioned before, it is easier to write when you sit down knowing what you need to accomplish. So, keeping that in mind, do not force yourself to sit down and just write however you can. Focus on creating outlines and timelines in the time you give yourself, and then writing when the inspiration hits you. This will make it easier for you to keep your eye on the prize and write what you need to in the time you have.
Focus on creating outlines and timelines in the time you give yourself, and then writing when the inspiration hits you.
Writing when you technically do not have time is difficult, yes, but it is not impossible! You surely love your work to put so much effort into making the time, so these strategies should help you, even when it seems overwhelming. Just break down your work into small pieces and tell yourself that it is entirely within your talents to continue writing!
And one day, you may not even need these strategies anymore, when writing is your job, and you do not have to force time into a schedule not built for it. Just keep at it! Writers are important, in how they touch people’s minds and hearts.