Today, I want to talk about my latest writing schedule. I’ll share what works for me and maybe my experiences will help others find the time to write.
I have two small children and I’m their primary caregiver. Writing during the day is nearly impossible. I’m too distracted or tired. My children need and deserve my full attention. If I’m on my phone or laptop then they want to be on my phone or laptop, resulting in a tug-of-war or too much screen time. For all these reasons and more, I mom full-time and I write part-time.
These are some writing schedules that you can try:
- 5am to 7am
- Pro: No one awake to distract you
- Con: Brain fog due to fatigue, especially if you’re a night owl
- nap time
- Pro: You are most alert and your newest ideas are still fresh
- Con: Time normally spent sleeping, eating or completing house chores uninterrupted
- 9pm to 11pm
- Pro: You’re still alert and motivated
- Con: Sacrificing time with your significant other or your social life
- Pro: No one awake to distract you
- Con: Brain fog due to fatigue, especially if you’re an early bird
I imagine that if you’re finding it difficult to find the time to write, then you also don’t have four or more hours to dive into the worlds you’re creating with your words. Two hours seem to be my minimum requirement for a writing session to be productive. Some people can write on the go or prefer five mini-sessions in one day. I cannot write anything substantial with only ten or twenty minutes of free time. Some people can.
Yay! You’ve carved out your window of opportunity. This is your time to get all of those artfully arranged words out of your head and onto the computer (or on paper). So what do you do with the time you’ve got? Write, of course! But that may not be a simple as it sounds.
To best use your writing time, you may need to prepare for it.
- When possible, eat, drink and use the restroom before your writing session begins.
- Put your phone on silent or vibrate-only mode for fewer distractions.
- You’ll be surprised how many social media notifications you’ll get or how tempting it will be to split your attention by texting or calling someone.
- Decide ahead of time where you will write and gather what tools you’ll need.
- Writing in a public place? Bring your laptop charge and earphones.
- Writing a home? Have your notes and snacks at your station.
- Identify one or two goals for your writing session.
- Example 1: I want to write 1,000 new words.
- Example 2: I want to finish editing chapter 12.
- Take breaks. I know, I know, your time is limited. But your eyes need to refocus, your body needs to stretch, and your mind needs to rest. Whether it’s every 30 minutes or 60 minutes, take a minute.
Nowadays, I write from 9pm to 11pm two or three days a week while my husband cares for our children. On other nights, when I’m unable to have a scheduled writing session, I write starting at midnight. I’m not a morning person and so night writing fits my lifestyle best. I can write as little a 500 words if I’m distracted or feeling drained. When motivated and focused, I can write 3,000 words during a two-hour writing session. I’ve been an author for two years and I’ve never had the time to write for more than three hours in a row. To date, I have two novels published and two more in production.
Find the time to write. It’s there. It may mean no TV, it may mean less exercise, nights out or phone calls. Bumping writing to the top of your to-do list may mean errands get postponed and chores are left undone. You may be missing family time, a date, sleep or time for self-care. It’s a sacrifice. If achieving your writing goal is worth it … then you’ll find the time to write.
This article was first published on Book Inspector on 3/19/2020.