Three steps to start writing now – part one
Time to write. Yes, but when?
How often do we look at our schedule and we feel overwhelmed? One of the most common excuses of many aspiring writers is exactly that: I do not have time to write.
I can relate to that because I was the same: inconsistent und unavailable to my longtime dream of writing.
Today I want to share with you my suggestions on how to find time.
Step 1: schedule writing time and choose your baseline
If you want some writing to happen, you must put it in your calendar, full stop.
There is no right or wrong option and you can experiment what works for you. Here are some suggestions on how you can trick your brain into making some space for writing.
Hairdresser appointment: you can think about the writing slot as an appointment to the hairdresser. Add up the time you need to go there and back, the waiting, and the washing and cutting, and there you have a nice couple of hours to write.
Tooth brushing: this works best if you have less time but need to find some consistency. You do not really think much about brushing your teeth, right? You just do it, everyday you use a small amount of your time to brush your teeth.
Cooking day off: if you are someone like me, who cooks every night, willingly or not, decide that one day per week there will be no cooking at all. You can either organize yourself to prepare meals prepared beforehand during the week, order take out or simply eat a sandwich. You want to use the time you normally spend cooking and cleaning up, writing. Maybe it is just half an hour, maybe one hour, but if you do this consistently, all those half hours add up to become a lots of writing hours.
Use pen and paper instead of the computer
We all know what happens with a computer, you quick check the e-mail, and right I need to pay the bill, what about the latest news and then ups, the time allocated for the writing is gone without a single line. Instead, before going to bed, prepare your notepad and pen ready for the next day, always in the same place. You can choose to get up 10’ earlier if you want, this will give you some space to write without feeling the burden.
21 days challenge
What is though important is that at the beginning you really make an effort to do it for 21 consecutive days. Once you pass this mark, it will be consolidated enough and even if for any reason you cannot do it one day, you should be able to pick up again the writing as it has become a habit. And once your writing habit is solid enough, you can choose to use the computer again.
What you want to make sure, is that you choose an amount of time which it feels feasible to you. It makes no sense to schedule three hours at the weekend, when you know for a fact the weekend you are simply out of order.
Choose a smaller amount of time, once you made a habit of using that time, you can decide any time to increase it. It is like walking in new shoes, you try them on for a short time first, before you decide to dance in them for hours.
I have an office job four days per week and I schedule my writing time when I am off. I would love to spend that day idling, reading, doing everything else but writing. But I do want to write and after trying out different time pattern and baseline, I know this day the best option the week offers me.
I realized that even on my day off, my concentration is not endless, and I resented stay long hours in front of the computer. Thus, I now schedule two slots of two and a half hours on my day off. If one day I am particularly inspired or I want to reach a specific goal, I might extend that time, but I do not put myself under pressure for that and my baseline – the two and a half hours – remains the same.
As I discovered the magic of planning, I must tell you that I actually plan my whole week, not only my day off. And I eventually add some other writing spots during the week, which might be used to actually write, work on the website from the technical point of view or reading about the craft of writing. What I noticed is that I prefer to have a pause between two active writing sessions, if they both concern a same project.
Now it’s your turn! How do you want to schedule your writing sessions? Try different options, like you try clothes on, and see which one fits you best.
Next week I’ll tell you about step two in forming a writing habit.