Wednesday, October 13, 2010

9 Ways to Find More Time to Write

9 Ways to Find More Time to Write
women writing
1. Conquer Procrastination. Often, we realize we have more time then we think to work on a project if only we could get over the mental hurdle, or procrastination "beast," as it is sometimes called. If you're procrastinating, try to find out why. Think it through, talk it over with a trusted friend or colleague. Sometimes, starting at the end of a project and working backwards can jumpstart your creative thinking. Or just sitting down and committing to a few minutes each day will help as well. Often, we find that we want to keep going past the time we scheduled because suddenly we're on a roll.

2. Keep a notepad and an ideas folder handy. I often get ideas when I'm in the car, on the train, or even at the supermarket, not to mention those brilliant 3 a.m. revelations. Keep a notebook handy so you can jot down any ideas to come back to later. I also keep a folder handy for blogging or business ideas I come across online or in print publications.

3. Publish in advance. With today's blogging and e-news programs, you can easily prepare several posts or newsletters and schedule them for the future. This is a great way to keep your online presence optimized, when you might actually be out networking, or even on vacation! I like Sendible for scheduling advance posts and also keeping track of direct messages and my Twitter stream.

4. Write in the am. Make it a point to write first thing in the morning, before you can get sidetracked by the events of the day. If you need to get up earlier, try going to bed earlier as well so you can be fresh in the morning. Take baby steps, maybe just try a half hour or forty-five minutes earlier to start. I find the  benefits of writing earlier far outway being a bit more tired later in the day, plus I feel better for having gotten my projects done. 

5. Give up one activity. Sort through your calendar and activity list daily, weekly, and monthly if need be, so you can be sure to schedule in your writing time, while evaluating your other activities. Maybe you can skip your favorite tv show, or tape it to watch later. Shopping online instead of in person can take up half as much time if there are items you need, and how about organizing your social activities together, so you can catch up with old friends on a given weekend and keep your writing date with yourself. 

6. Be open to ideas as you do other activities. I know that the best ideas I've had are rarely the ones I get sitting at my desk trying to get a good idea. Usually, they occur to me in the car, or during yoga, or maybe when I'm just out for a bike ride or a walk. Let your creative side in when you are engaged in activities, and chances are you'll get your writing idea started, which ius the first step toward getting it done.

7. Organize your household chores. It's easy to get distracted when you're thinking that's it's time to vacuum, or chop up vegetables, or mop the floor. Sometimes, these activities can be therapeutic (I do believe in cleaning "euphoria,"), but they can also end up really dominating your day. Choose a specific day of the week to do most of your chores and cleaning, and if you're overwhelmed, ask family members to pitch in so everyone does their part. It's well worth it to have the uninterrupted time, and you'll have peace of mind knowing there is a set time for these tasks. 
8. Multitask similar writing activities. If you're working on business writing, such as blog posts, write all your posts for the week at a specified time. I know this always helps me feel "in the zone," and that way I can enjoy social media activities and learn new technologies during the rest of the time without feeling the pressure to publish. Large or more complex projects such as e-books or reports, can complement each other. Maybe the intro or a chapter from your new book would make a great free download, for example. 

9. Be an outline lover. For many writing projects, not only having the ideas in the first place, but a working outline, is key. Feeling organized about your work is super important in being able to execute it. Of course, you want to allow yourself to be creative and have the freedom to make changes, but if you have an outline it gives you a structure to follow, and can also serve as a task calendar for your  writing session. Wouldn't it be great to check off a new page or chapter with each session?

Got other ideas? How have you found more time to write?

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