Being a writer requires time, patience, determination and skill. While the determination and skill are usually easy to come by, the time and patience can be the downfall of most writers. There are rarely enough hours in the day to get our responsibilities taken care of, let alone to make extra time for writing. For most of us, that will always be a struggle. With friends and family, work and a social life all vying for our attention, it takes willpower to make a writing schedule and stick to it. While there is no easy fix, a writer can do plenty of little things to find the time and get those words on the page.
1. Make a Writing Schedule
Planning a schedule and sticking to it is essential for all writers. If you work full-time, it may actually be easier to establish a regular time each day in which to write. Find a time that fits into your schedule, perhaps right before bedtime or after you’ve put the children to bed. If you’re a morning person, wake up early and write for an hour or so before going to work. Make sure to write during this time, and avoid disturbances like email, phone or Internet. This schedule may evolve as your life changes, but make that time count, as you would with any job. Don’t let your busy schedule stop you, because a lot of quality writing can be done in a short amount of time, if you stay focused and motivated.
2. Carry a small notebook everywhere
Having a small notebook or notepad with you wherever you go ensures that when inspiration strikes, you’ll be able to take advantage of it. Jotting down a title, word, sentence or phrase that pops up at the most unlikely place can motivate you to revisit the idea later, and turn a simple thought into a complete piece of work.
3. Let “no” become your favorite word
A social life is important, but sometimes, we can let ‘fun’ get in the way of our writing. Time is limited, and we should take advantage of it when we can. While your writing time should not be the most important thing in your life, it should be sacrificed only for the most crucial things. Meeting a group of friends at the bar, for example, should not take away from your writing, especially if it is a frequent thing. A family birthday or gathering, however, can be an exception. You might disappoint some people, but they’ll get over it. In fact, it might influence them to spend time doing what they love too.
4. Take a writing class or join a writer’s group
Taking a writing class or joining a writer’s group is a good way to help you stick to a schedule and keep writing. A group or a class can force writers to submit their writing on a regular basis and receive feedback. Plus, there is the added benefit of forming a writing community, connecting with other writers and discussing ideas.
You can either start a writer’s group with friends, or advertise for one in the local paper or at the nearby community college. This group can act as support when you get stuck.
There are also online writing courses available through the extended learning programs of many universities.
UCLA Extension has a great writer’s program (uclaextension.com)–but for a cheaper and more fast-paced alternative, try the writing classes through National University extension (nu.edu).
Mediabistro also has a list of classes that can help motivate writers (mediabistro.com).
5. Treat Yourself
When you meet your goals, give yourself a reward. A movie from Blockbuster, a new CD from Amazon, a Starbucks latte or Baskin Robbins sundae can help you feel good about getting your writing done. Give yourself an incentive to write and you will write more.
So, what are you waiting for? Follow these simple steps and write on!
The Accidental Blogger