If you read my post, “Treat writing seriously,” you might be wondering how you can do just that. The thing about writing is the best way to improve at writing is to write. There’s no way around if. If you don’t have time to write, there’s only one thing you can do—make time.
We’re all busy. That’s just the way life seems to be anymore. But if you want to write, and I mean really write, like, you have a goal to be a published author or pursue writing as a career, you need to be able to devote time to it. You need to give it the time it needs to grow and the time you need to hone the skills it takes to write. If you’re serious about it, really serious, you need to make time for it.
How can we do that in today’s busy world? Well, here are three things that helped me.
- Reduce distractions.
Apple’s “Screen Time” tracker has been an eye opener to many, including myself. Sometimes it’s a little out of proportion (Yes, Siri, I do need to spend an embarrassingly large amount of time on my phone calculator while I do math in the morning. Yes, Siri, I did take a three hour road trip with my GPS app on the whole time.) but for the most part, I cringe when my weekly report comes in, and I see how much time I’ve spent on Instagram and Snapchat.
Other distractions might be YouTube, Pinterest, or other forms of social media. Often, there are things that need to come before writing—it’s hard to write when you can see the mound of homework out of the corner of your eye, or when you know that you haven’t done the dishes yet. Some things should be a higher priority than writing, and you should make an attempt to be efficient in completing those high-priority tasks so you can write in peace. But other things are time suckers. You need to put them in their place.
- Rotate your schedule
Some people have more control over their schedule than others. But I’ll bet there are certain shifts you can make that would open up writing time. Two things should affect the time you chose to write: When you’re able to, and when is best. I’ve found it very effective to write first thing in the morning. That way it’s done. Some people may prefer to write at night. If you’re more creative at night and you could do the rest of your activities during the day, that’s great! If you like to wake up extra early anyway and can pencil in a little writing time before school or work, that’s also great! Whatever works for you!
- Cut things out of your schedule
This is where it gets hard, especially when you feel like you can’t cut anything out. But maybe there are certain things you can eliminate or at least reduce if you’re trying to become a better writer. This could be anything from a sport or activity, or something as simple as reducing video game time or watching less TV. Cut those distractions that we talked about earlier. Sign out of Instagram or delete the app. (I often do this, especially during NaNoWriMo) There may not be as much time in the day as we’d like, but there’s still a fairly substantial amount of time. Try your best to see what works for you!
If I sound a little more serious in this post, it’s because I really do believe in writers, especially young writers who are facing the often difficult decision of wondering if writing deserves so much time. If you’re here, then you’re probably looking for ways to take your writing seriously. Devoting more time to it might be a step you need to take. Building consistency is crucial. Don’t give up!