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Wordsmiths101
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Make Time to Write 
11th-Oct-2006 01:13 am
procrastination
Ok, so not quite next week, but hey, I've been a busy gal.

So the subject for this post? Making time to write. The pitfalls of procrastination unfortunately affect all of us writers, no matter how much we say it doesn't. But having the time to write is probably the biggest issue for many a person. After all, if we're not making money from our writing then surely other things need to take precedence, like working and earning money, right? I'm an absolute classic example of this. While I would love to wile away the hours in front of the computer producing page after page of fiction, I have to be realistic. My dream does not pay the rent or put food on my table. Nor does it do the laundry, empty out the rubbish bins or keep in contact with my friends and family.

Sadly, these sorts of things are necessary for day-to-day living. If we were to neglect all that then I'm sure we would very quickly go mad, end up seriously stinky through lack of showers and clean clothes and quite possibly end up secluded and lonely into the bargain. So how do we fulfil all our daily needs and still find time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? The magic word here is organisation.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm certainly not the most organised person on the planet, in fact, being disorganised is probably one of my greatest weaknesses. But I've finally come to realise that if I seriously want to achieve my goal and become a published writer, then something's gotta give. And that something would be me.

According to David Kilpatrick on Frugal Fun, it takes the average writer one hour to produce one page of writing. Equate that to a novel of approximately 300 pages, and you're looking at roughly 300 hours work. To put that into realistic terms, that's seven and a half weeks at 40 hours a week. Nearly two months worth of writing if you were to treat it like a normal 9 to 5 job. That's a pretty scary thought when you think most of us write around the times we need to work, eat and do the chores. To produce a book of that size you'd probably have to spread it out over a year. With that sort of thinking, you would need to dedicate around 30 minutes a day to produce that many pages. "That sounds a bit more realistic," you might be thinking. But do you have a spare half an hour a day to sit and write?

Kim Wilson states clearly on Write From Home.com that there is a difference between finding time to write and making time. She puts forward a clear and simple plan so that you can make time to write in your busy daily schedules. She suggests sitting down and splitting the day into a 24 hour schedule, then list your primary commitments - your job and appointments you must attend. Then list your secondary commitments - chores, sleeping and spending time with family and friends - flexible time. Once you've mapped out where and how you spend your time, look to find spaces that you can commit to writing. Kim gives 5 suggestions about how to create more time:

1. If you watch a lot of television, cut back. Decide which programs you can live without then use that time to write.

2. Recruit your children and spouse to help out around the house. If your children are at a "helping age" have them pick up after themselves and assist you with household chores.

3. Keep a running grocery list on your refrigerator. As you use items write them on the list. This will save you a lot of time when it's time to do the shopping.

4. Prepare for the morning the night before. Pick out the clothes you and your children will wear. Make lunches and prepare diaper bags and backpacks for the following day. By doing this you will save time and not be so rushed in the morning.

5. Accept help from others. If Grandma, friends or other relatives offer to babysit, let them. In fact if you and the sitter are willing, schedule a regular time on certain days or evenings, then use this uninterrupted time to write.


Ultimately, making the time to write is about making sacrifices. Yes, you will have to socialise a little less, spend a little less time sleeping or eating (eat while you type!), but if you can bite your lip and make that commitment, the product of that sacrifice will most definitely be worthwhile. This is something that has taken me some time to realise, but now I have, I'm prepared to make the sacrifice and the time.
Comments 
4th-Mar-2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Hi. I just stopped by this community after reading your ad on add_a_writer. This was a very nice article. I find that, since I don't live alone, finding the peace to write is just as much a problem as finding the time. While I'm typing this, a toddler is trying to pluck my eyelashes. Imagine me trying to write a love scene while this is going on. Not feelin' real romantic.

The suggestions for creating more time to write were very good. I find the program at Flylady.net goes a long way to helping make more time in my life without wallowing in filth, once you get the hang of it. There's a flylady community on LJ as well.

Anyway, I like I said, I liked the article and I joined the community. I don't really have a good feel for what it's all about and don't feel like I have anything to contribute right now, though.
6th-Mar-2007 12:44 am (UTC)
Thank you for joining! I'll be sure to look at that program you mentioned.

The community will hopefully be a place where writers can trade information about getting published, how they get inspired etc as opposed to actually posting their writing for critique on here since there are plenty of places to do that already.

Hopefully activity will start to pick up a bit more on here over the next few months so you can get a feel for the place. And again, welcome!
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