Many people have asked me how I find the time to write.
I thought I would share with you how I found this elusive time to write. No, I didn’t hire cleaners or nannies or contract out the parenting. I wasn’t that smart.
1. Listening to Others
In the previous blog, I spoke about how I made the audacious decision to write a novel. In the beginning, I wrote on the weekends, in the evening, and on hot summer afternoons. Along the way, I realised I needed considerable professional advice and skills to transform my amateur attempts into something more like real novel writing. One of the many pieces of advice out there was: find a time, make it daily, and write. I thought that sounded pretty simple. All of the wise people who have written clever and famous books on writing, said exactly the same thing.
2. Finding the Time
This is where it got a bit tricky. When would that time be for me? I liked to go for a bike ride in the morning before dropping my youngest to early sports commitments. I also had to get ready for work myself. Mmmm. I am not a night person and if I wrote at night, it would be rare rather than regular. Clearly writing was not going to happen unless I made a change.
3. Making the Commitment
This was about commitment. I changed my cycling routine and built in other exercises. I now keep cycling for the weekends. I wake up very early so that I can write for about an hour. I still have time for about an hour of exercise after this, and I manage to fit everything in (mostly). The morning is not for everyone but it works for me and for many other writers who have to work full time. A before dawn starts means I’m pretty exhausted by the end of the day! You probably guessed that it requires an early to bed routine too.
4. Change Happened!
The most amazing thing happened when I undertook the morning writing routine. After I sent the first manuscript off to be structurally edited, I began the second novel, and with the routine firmly in place, I finished that in a couple of months. I then undertook to write a third novel, and finished that in six months. I was astonished!
5. Maintaining the Flow
On the weekends and long holidays, I allocate a couple of two-hour shifts to attend to the gritty tasks of editing and rewriting. About eighty percent of the time I am able to keep to the five o’clock in the morning schedule, and if it for some reason I can’t, I set aside an hour later on in the day. It hardly happens that I don’t write daily. I don’t break out in a sweat if something swerves me off course; I just go for a walk and pull into my favourite cafe. C’est la vie!
The Bit At The End
What really inspired my transformation from a casual writer to a daily writer was hearing the same message from a lot of those ‘habit changing’ books, as well as from a substantial number of books on writing. The evidence lay in what all of the authors had achieved. I also read information on other blogs, watch video clips, attend courses, and listen to podcasts. The purpose is to find your own way. This is mine.
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King, WD
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