One of the most common questions/problems I come across, and one that I find is a problem for myself too, is how to find enough time for writing.
Back in my student days I had all the time I needed to write, but rarely took advantage of it.
Fast forward a few (cough cough) years and there’s far too many demands on my life to allow me the luxury of writing when I want to – job, family, social life, house/yard work etc.
So how did I manage to write the complete draft of a novel in under two months (November/December) – about 90,000 words, with so much else going on in my life?
Well, here’s how it happened.
- I did Nanowrimo (and decided to do it to write a new novel, just just to finish).
- I kept the pace up afterward and finished what I started.
- I told my wife I was doing Nanowrimo, and asked for a little slack.
- I got up half an hour early and wrote before work.
- I wrote after work whenever I could.
- I wrote on weekends when the opportunity presented itself.
- I aimed for an average of 1667 words a day, but wrote more if I could in order to make up for the times I couldn’t.
- I still did everything else I normally would.
Essentially, I stopped wasting time and used whatever spare time I had for writing.
- I got up when the alarm when off instead of lazing in bed.
- If I wanted to watch a show on TV, I recorded it and watched it when I’d got ahead (as a small reward) or when I was too wiped out to write.
- If I had to do housework or yardwork, I tried to get through it faster.
- If I had to run the kids to sports training, I took the laptop or a notepad.
- I did simple things like turning the computer on when I got home so that when I had a spare ten minutes I could write a couple of hundred words.
And the funny thing is, the more I did it, the easier it got.
I started thinking about the story all the time – planning ahead in spare moments so that when I sat back down again I was ready (and keen) to write the next scene or chapter.
I didn’t go back to ‘fix’ things. Just soldiered on, making notes of things I wanted to change later.
As often as not I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write next – but when the time came, I wrote anyway. Apparently, Muses are overrated.
It was a little tough at the beginning – there was a certain amount of discipline I had to develop. Inspriation only took me so far.
After that I relied on discipline, and from there it all changed.
Find out more about novel structure.