Are you ready to find the time to write? It can be overwhelming when we look at our week sometimes, and see just how busy we are. When I was doing my full-time PhD, alongside working two jobs, I was really feeling the pressure. Then, I developed a way to move forward and find the time in my week. Here’s how I did it writer, read on to find out more!
Pinpoint Your Time Wasters
We all waste time in our week, and that’s fine.
After all, life is not just a series of work tasks to be completed – sometimes there is pleasure to be had in sitting on the sofa, switching on the television, and delighting in a little bit of time wasting.
But when this fun time wasting turns into a daily habit, it often stops becoming enjoyable and can turn into a negative practice.
The first step of building your writing habit is to pinpoint those time wasters in your week. How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling, for example?
Once you understand what tasks fill up your week and which ones you feel you can do without, you can start understanding where space exists for your writing.
Weekly Goals over Daily Goals
Setting daily goals can often be an inflexible way of planning, meaning no space for movement.
This, in turn, can lead to stress – after all, inflexibility in a routine means that the pattern is most likely not sustainable.
Instead, weekly goals can help you achieve your writing ambitions.
Ask yourself what you would like to achieve this time next month, and then break down your goal into weekly easy to digest chunks.
For example, now you know that you would like to have written ten thousand words in one month, how will that fit into each week?
Your Creative Data
Last week I shared with you a blog post all about your Creative Data! If you missed it, head to the website to take a look now.
Well, it’s the time it takes you to write. Check out this blog post for more information!
Next time you write, keep an eye on the clock and check how many words it takes you to write in one hour. Don’t race or hurry yourself along, because this is not realistic. Your data should be honest in order to work for you.
Once you know how many words you can write in one hour, you can understand how many words you can fit into a week on a typical day.
Overestimate Your Time
You might be able to write five hundred words in fifteen minutes on a good day when the work is planned, the sun is shining, and the house is quiet – but how many words can you write realistically in one hour?
For example, I write ninety words a minute, but it can be more like ten words a minute when writing creatively. My personal best is 714 words in fifteen minutes…but on some days, it takes me two hours to write 1000 words!
Overestimating how long it will take based on my creative data ensures a space in my calendar for the actual amount of words I’d like to get written.
We can balance our writing routines by ensuring that there is space for some movement and flexibility.
For example, time blocking back to back and squeezing writing in where we can is one thing, but leaving small gaps in between tasks in the day will mean that there is movement for something to change.
This also means ensuring that if one writing session is missed, another one won’t be too hard to find.
For example, I don’t usually write on the weekend unless I miss a session in the week. That option means that my writing routine doesn’t get thrown out if life throws a spanner into my washing machine.
Build a Habit
It takes three weeks to build a habit into your life and three weeks to lose one. So, once you have your writing routine ready, try it for at least three weeks to give it a shot.
Building a habit requires the following:
Cue – An alert to remind you the habit is about to start.
Craving – Imagining the action. Inspire yourself by thinking of how wonderful it will be to write, how it will feel to have the finished product.
Response – The act of writing.
Reward – The incentive to write, whether it’s a cup of tea, an hour of your favourite show, or a pat on the back.
So, once you know what your time wasters are, you have set yourself your weekly goals based on your creativity data. You’ve overestimated your time and ensured that you have flexibility in your week. It’s time to start this writing habit by setting alerts into your calendar.
Once the alarm goes off, don’t ignore it; pay attention and imagine the action of writing. See yourself completing the task.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Use rewards, be clear and realistic in your planning, and set yourself up for success!
If you struggle with holding yourself to account, it might be a good idea to find an accountability partner who can support you.
This is precisely where a writing coach comes in useful! Through my work with my clients, I hold them accountable to action points they set themselves and investigate any issues that stop them from achieving.
Complete these seven steps and see how your writing routine grows beneath you – try it out for three weeks, and you’ll have a word count to be proud of.
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