One of the main problems I hear from aspiring authors is they don’t have the time to write. Their lives are too busy, it’s difficult to schedule it around the kids or around a full-time job, or both. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to schedule it in my own life, and how to keep at it. Here are a few tips I’ve gathered from others or tried on my own over the years.
This isn’t just a Twitter hashtag. These are people who find the motivation to wake up just an hour or two before they need to go to work and get the words in. Writing right after you wake up is a really good idea too. It’s easier to get your creativity out then, and to tap into that sleepy dream-state that you just woke from to pull out ideas. Professional authors actually hack this too. If they have an upcoming deadline, they’ll nap for a few hours, then wake up and hit the keyboard again. In a little while when their motivation is slipping, they’ll do it again. I obviously don’t recommend this tactic unless you absolutely need to because it wrecks havoc on your sleeping pattern, but it’s a good indication of how effective writing on waking up can be.
2. Hire a babysitter (for dedicated writing time)
I listen to The Outer Dark podcast a lot during my commute, and it’s interesting to pick up on the tips and tricks other authors use. One mother said she was having trouble writing around her kids in the evening, so she hired a babysitter, and dedicated that time to writing. Ultimately she started treating her writing as a job, so having the sitter was important to her work. It was very effective. Even though she could only afford a sitter for a couple of hours a week, she was amazed at her productivity when she sat down to write. Her non-writing time was spent collecting ideas and making plans for what to do when she got her precious writing time. When she sat down, the words just flowed.
3. NaNoWriMo / Camp NaNoWriMo
Nothing works better to motivate me than having a deadline. The classic NaNoWriMo consists of writing 50,000 words in November, which can be quite daunting when you barely have the time to write! Although that’s how I got introduced to it, I typically participate in November as a rebel, choosing my own wordcount goals and sometimes using it for motivation to get through edits instead of writing. However during Camp NaNoWriMo you can set your own wordcount goal for the month. These happen in both April and June, which typically are a lot less hectic than the holidays. You can get sorted into cabins if you wish, for your own genre, maybe your own age group, or even for your wordcount goal. It’s got motivation built-in from the start! It’s free to sign up, so why not give it a try?
Dealing with writer’s block and having trouble just getting the words out? I’ve found Typetrigger to be very helpful. Four times a day, a prompt is given to write about, and you write whatever you want. It can be anything: a scene, a bit of dialogue, a short poem, a song, or even a rant about something in your day. The only requirement is that it has to be 300 words or less. Then you tag it with what you want and send it off. When I was leaning heavily on this to get back into writing a few years back, I would sit eagerly waiting for the prompt to refresh, excited to see what image would come to mind, or how I could do something different from my old prompts. It only takes a few minutes out of your day, and it really helps get your brain to spill out words again!
Whatever method you plan to use to find the time to write, all that matters is that you write. Your story will never get written if you don’t. Believe in yourself and in your story. Figure out what holds you back, and find ways to work around it.
Good luck, future author!