Once upon a time, I had a dream…
It wasn’t a particularly noble dream. No, I dreamt of the day when I could leave behind the silly fetters of my current life and become a full-time writer. I dreamed of a cabin in the middle of nowhere (like the one in the photo) in which I would isolate myself for eight hours a day, every day, my brilliance flowing out of me and onto the page like an enchanted waterfall. There would be no 9-5, no commute, nothing to bother me except the worlds inside my own little head.
Hahahahaha. Ah, the naïveté of youth.
I could still be a full-time writer someday. I’m not saying it’s impossible for me, or for you. But given that the world is not a wish-granting factory (-John Green), I understand that it’s far more likely I’ll have to do other things to support myself and my writing. Which means fewer days spent writing in isolated cottages, more days spent carving out writing time wherever I can find it.
So here are my top tips for carving out writing time:
1. Have a dedicated writing time And this doesn’t have to be the same every day, or even every week. Generally I like to save myself an hour on weeknights after dinner and a chunk of hours on Saturdays and/or Sundays. Sometimes life gets in the way of this, however, which is why it’s essential to…
2. Set a weekly goal I’ve written on how important I’ve found it to have weekly, not daily goals. While my day job keeps me on a regular schedule, the rest of my life does not; on any given night I may have a dinner to go to, or I may just be too tired to write, or I may be whisked away for a family event (ah, large families who live nearby). So on the days where I miss writing time, I can make it up the next day. (Just don’t leave everything for Sunday!)
3. Bring your laptop with you everywhere Invest in a light one, and carry it around in your bag. You never know when writing time will pop up. I have been known to write on the subway (though this is tricky on crowded trains), at the park during my lunch break, in the car (while someone else is driving), even during the aforementioned family time. Yesterday, for example, after a big family lunch at my boyfriend’s, it was raining outside so everyone just kind of sat around vegging on the couch and not talking to each other. I pulled out my laptop and banged out 700 words.
Would I get more done without a day job? Sure. But for now I am grateful for the steady income, and that I’ve been able to work out a writing schedule that works for me.
What are your tips for carving out writing time?
Currently writing: Still first-drafting the Play Story. I’m around the climax, which I’m finding doesn’t have one big climax but lots of multiple little climaxes that are leading up to a bigger one. (My brain is crowding with sexual analogies right now but fortunately for you I’m not good at articulating those.) I love this part of the story, which is probably why it’s flowing so fast. Now, back to work!