by Deren Hansen
Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE) 2011, Julie Wright said, "Time is always made, never found."
So how do you make time to write?
At one level, it simply comes down to the question, "What are you willing to give up in order to write?"
Of course, saying it that way makes you sound less than committed if you're not a writing hermit.
So how can a person who has a life outside of writing make time?
Consider the following techniques (all of which were discussed in the LTUE session I mentioned above).
Ways to Make Time in General:
of us treat our writing as a hobby--not that we're lacking in
commitment but rather that we approach it more like a leisure activity.
Let me hasten to add that there's nothing wrong with writing as a hobby
if you're satisfied with the time you are able to devote to it. If,
however, you wish you had more time to write (a lament I've heard from
nearly every writer I've met), raising the priority of your writing to
the same level as, say, exercising, would mean that it's no longer
Sandra Tayler said, "When I write first, the laundry gets easier."
that you've raised the priority of your writing, how can you make time
by spending less of it on other things? There's an entire industry
devoted to offering answers to that question. And every situation, of
course, is different. That said, I've found the pattern of making little
systems to be surprising powerful for something so simple.
I've discussed little systems elsewhere.
In brief, a little system is anything that helps you streamline a
recurring task. For example, I sort mail (the paper kind) over the trash
can because most of it will end up there.
effective sort of streamlining is to remove decisions points. If you
like to write in the morning, but find it hard because of the time it
takes you to get ready for the day, choosing your clothes the night
before means one less decision to make in the morning.
Ways to Make Time to Work on Long-form Fiction
Clear Space, Both Physical and Temporal
is a safe, adult-appropriate word for play. In order to sustain the
focus we need to create long-form works, we need a place in time and
space to play. We need a place where we can leave our half-built castles
in the air while we attend to other things secure in the knowledge that
they'll be there, undisturbed and ready for us, when we return.
this age of convenient mobile computing systems, setting up your
writing environment may be no more complicated than opening a laptop and
firing up a word processor. Clearing your schedule and your internal
worry processor are more difficult. This is why many writers will go to a
library or a cafe. Whatever you do, the key is to find a time and space
where you can focus on your project.
will derail your writing. You can't prevent all emergencies, but you
can take care of things under your control so that you're not creating
problems for yourself.
If, for example,you paid your
bills when you receive your statement, you'd never run the risk of
leaving it all to the last moment and then having a fire drill to get
everything paid. I know people who, as a matter of principle, pay their
bills at the last possible moment in order to deny the entity whatever
interest it might have earned having the money a few days earlier. I
prefer to discharge my obligations as soon as they come due so that I
can devote the time I would have spent keeping track of my unpaid bills
to my writing, secure in the knowledge that it's safe to play.
Deren blogs at The Laws of Making.