Finding time to write is hard. Our lives are so busy. We have responsibilities that can’t take a backseat. So, we often find ourselves waiting on the right time to become inspired enough to carve out that necessary time to indulge in our art.
The famous painter, Thomas Kincaid once spoke about inspiration. He never waited for inspiration to strike because to do so would put him in a place of creative disadvantage. He felt that instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, an artist should place himself in the path of inspiration by committing to action daily. Instead of waiting to be inspired, you will give inspiration a chance to take footing in your creative action. Sit in that chair. Place your fingers on that keyboard. Fill that blank screen. Place yourself in a position to be sprinkled with the creative juice of inspired action.
Inspired action. If we wait for a slice of time to open itself up for us, we’ll never move again. You must carve it out and dedicate yourself to filling it with writing.
Here are some tips to carve out that time to write:
Decide why you are writing.
What is the driving force? What is going to get you up out of bed at an early hour, help you turn off the television, take time away from your loved ones, and shed all your vulnerabilities on the blank screen?
When you know the ‘why’ behind your dreams, and it’s a strong ‘why’, nothing will stand in your way. That reality television show will not become a distraction. That happy hour with friends will not rob you of that next scene planting in your creative mind. That snooze button will not win out over your characters’ stories.
Schedule your writing just as you would schedule an appointment.
Some writers have told me they take a calendar and jot down their writing appointments, and this helps them stick to it. If you’re the type that wouldn’t dare miss an appointment with a doctor, hairdresser, or business client, then this technique will likely prove successful. I do this. I use a traditional wall calendar and post my writing schedule on there and check it off each day as I progress. It keeps me on track by holding me accountable. And, I must say, the geek in me loves the act of checking it off at the end of a writing session.
Stop dreaming about how much you want to write.
Getting stuck in the talk of writing is completely natural. We want everyone to know what we’re doing. We want them to get equally excited about the characters and storylines we’ve dreamed up. We love seeing their reactions as we talk about the conflicts that will pop up on the pages of the novel we will write. Talking up an idea has its value points, especially if we speak with avid readers who know a good story line when they see or hear one. The danger comes in when we spend too much time seeking feedback on our ideas. The reason is because to lift it off the ground, we must get started on it.
Schedule television and internet time.
By scheduling, you’ll be less apt to mindlessly scroll through the channels or social media newsfeeds and more apt to making strategic decisions. Think of your time as a valuable asset. How do you want to tap into it? How can you best preserve it for effective use?
Write down your top goals.
Take some time to flesh out writing goals. Write them down somewhere you will see them daily. Make it a point to read those goals daily. Take earnest action on them daily.
Quantify your goals so you can adequately measure them. Some writers like to commit to a daily word, scene, or time count. Figure out which one resonates with you, and make it happen.
Commit at the very least to 15 minutes a day to taking action on one or more of them. By taking action daily, you are chunking these massive goals down into digestible steps. Those steps add up over time. Before long, you’ll look back on them and realize you’ve come far. Action steps also create momentum, which will fuel your desire to continue taking more steps.
When you are feeling unfocused, stop what you are doing, go someplace quiet, close your eyes, and breathe. As simplistic as this sounds, it is the best way to reenergize when in a pinch. Breathe deeply for three minutes, and you’ll feel your energy and focus return.
Rewarding yourself for accomplishing a milestone can help build and sustain motivation over the long haul. Create milestones for your goals, and when reached, gift yourself with something affirming that will perk you up and keep you going until you reach the next one.
Over to you. Out of these ideas, which one resonates most deeply with you?