December 6, 2013
5 Tips for Finding Time to Write
Finding time to do anything these days can be difficult. There are so many demands on our time from family, work and friends – how do we ever find time for ourselves to do what we want? Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours (or minutes) in a day to accomplish everything that needs to be done, let alone add something else to the mix.
I can only tell you what worked for me. Everyone writes differently; take from the list below whatever will work for you and your lifestyle.
1. Make Time
If writing is important to you, then you will make the time. You probably write down all of your appointments on a calendar – so schedule yourself some writing time. Maybe you get up a half hour earlier or you spend your lunch hour writing. When I first started writing, I did both of these things. You need to make this time a ‘habit’ or part of your daily ‘routine’ – something you do every day or at least three times a week. Keep to the schedule and soon you’ll find making time comes easier. Perhaps getting up earlier isn’t for you, so maybe you can find the time write later in the evening.
2. Make a Writing Space
It is hard to write when you don’t have a desk or a space to write. I started off using the kitchen table. I bought some used banker boxes and labelled them ‘Writing’ and ‘Research’. For a couple of years this was my space. If you own a laptop or computer, you probably already have a desk – but it doesn’t really matter. Maybe sitting at a corner of your kitchen or dining room table will work. The most important thing about making a place to practice your writing ritual is as soon as you sit down, you are in your writing space – wonderful things happen here – you can let your imagination soar. Oh, and those two banker boxes of mine have now grown to several filing cabinets full of articles, research information and writing material (and I now have a small room for my office).
3. Don’t Waste Your Time
We already know that life is hectic, but sometimes we waste time. It could be playing a game on the computer or spending too much time watching television or keeping up with social media. You can tell yourself this is your ‘relaxing’ or ‘downtime’, but you could also use some of this time to write. We all need to relax and recoup, so I’m not saying to cut out all of those activities, but maybe you could use a portion of this time to write instead.
4. Carry Your Writing with You
Whether you are a man or woman reading this, it is easy to tuck a small notebook in your handbag, briefcase or just keep it in the car with you. I started carrying around a small notebook so that I could write down ideas when inspiration struck – with my busy schedule I was bound to forget things – this was an easy way to get those ideas down. If you take your car to be serviced and have to wait, this is a golden opportunity to write! Same goes for the dentist or doctor appointments, or taking children to various activities – always carry a notebook.
5. Learn to Say ‘No’
If writing is important to you, then you need to learn the art of ‘saying no’ to people who want to encroach on your writing time. Now that you have a set routine for your writing (see #1 above), make sure your family and friends know that you have an ‘appointment’ and can’t be at their beck and call during this time. Your sister wants to go shopping, your friends call and want to chat – learn to tactfully say no. Soon they will get the message. One of the hardest things about being a writer and working from home is that people don’t think you do anything. Writing is hard work, ideas need inspiration and inspiration usually doesn’t happen if you are on the phone chatting with your best friend. Once you have an idea, there is research, more research and then writing. Learning to say ‘no’ early on in your writing career will make your writing life a lot easier further down the road.
I was lucky enough to have access to the local library during my lunch time for several years and I often worked there researching, reading or writing. When my youngest had to be at swimming practice, I took along my writing; I wrote at every opportunity. Yes, it was hard, but it paid off. I’ve been writing for almost 25 years – some of it part time as I built up my portfolio – but I have been working as a full time writer (either freelancing or under contract) for the past 10 years. I have two books published (Shipwrecks Off the East Coast and New Brunswick: Facts, Firsts & Innovations) and have co-authored two more (Scenic St. Martins: Jewel of the Bay of Fundy and A Pictorial Walk Through Historic Saint John) with Ethel King during this time.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work” – Stephen King
November 20, 2013
Paper and Ink Publishing vs eBooks
As one of my colleagues pointed out several years ago “There will always be a place for paper-and-ink publishing”. But times and technology are changing.
I remember getting my first library card. I was six years old and my grandmother discovering I was reading way beyond my grade one level took me to the library to get what she called, “a magic card”. With this “magic card” I could travel and learn new things without ever leaving home. Boy was she right! I devoured books and being able to ONLY select six books a trip was hard until Gram pointed out that every time I returned six books, I could have six more. What a wonderful gift to receive, the gift of books.
I imagine that by the time my grandson is in school, libraries will still exist, but checking out eBooks and eBook Readers or whatever technology awaits down the road with be more common place than actually checking out a physical book.
I purchased my first eBook Reader this past year, but I don’t love it the way I love books. I still like the smell of the ink and being able to hold a book – but I must say that having the ability to take five or six books, or as many as I want on vacation by loading them on the eBook Reader instead of in my suitcase is a great convenience.
The Idea Logical Company have lots of information on traditional publishing and eBooks, and the digital world.
Happy Reading and Writing Folks.