There are plenty of books, essays, posts, and general social media reflections on carving out time for writing. Fighting for a spare moment to craft some words when life has other plans. With social lives, families, careers, and even sleep, how can a writer make time to actually write?
And with that in mind, how can we actually be sure that carving out time is a worthwhile thing to do? If writing was so important in our lives, wouldn’t be have already made the time we need? (Not necessarily, as I suspect most writers with busy schedules would argue!)
In this busy world of ours, how can somebody who wants to make more time available for writing actually make writing a priority in their life?
Take care of yourself first
Whatever you do, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. There are only so many hours in a day, and if you’re at a point in your life where those hours are already full, you won’t help yourself by crushing yourself under more work and mental stress.
The tortured and starving artist is a trope that we don’t want to exaggerate or even celebrate. Life is hard enough without overworking yourself.
You should carefully measure what is best for the current you and what’s best for future you. Don’t over-extend yourself by trying to do more than you can handle, and try to keep things enjoyable.
Remember: you’re preparing for the future, not forcing the future to happen today.
If you’re confident that you can make the time available to write, that’s wonderful!
First, you should try be realistic about the scope of your projects. Given the amount of time you have available and the motivation, ask yourself if you should be working on a full-length novel, or if something smaller makes more sense.
Be realistic about how much time you can commit to this for now. Can you carve out a small piece of time each day and commit to that? You won’t need much time at first–maybe 15 or 20 minutes a day.
Building a small writing habit and committing to that is an ideal way to give you a longer-term motivation. You’ll have an easier time prioritizing writing when you’re already on a streak.
And if you need a quick win, keep a journal. Writing privately for yourself is still writing, after all.
Play the long game
If you are serious about pursuing writing, remember that it’s a long road. You might not complete the novel you’re thinking about in a week, but if you keep making time for your writing, and put in a few minutes each and every day, there’s nothing stopping you from completing a novel eventually.
You can absolutely get there if you want it.
Think about your current priorities are and what your future priorities are. Consider how a writing career fits into those priorities, and seriously ask yourself if there are some current priorities that you’re willing to give up.
Be honest with yourself though, and remember to take care of yourself. If writing is something that calls to you strongly enough, you can use this process of self-reflection to make sure you always have the time and motivation you need to succeed.