Do words really mean anything anymore?
“We spend so much time looking at our phones and laptops and iPads that many of us have forgotten how to look at the world.” – Luke Irwin, rug designer, Scotland
Do you struggle to find the time to do your writing projects? Unfortunately, there’s a myth that says writing is an experience that demands huge amounts of uninterrupted time during which we summon our muse for divine inspiration. Something usually gets in the way of trying to find that huge chunk of time. Maybe it’s an unforeseen meeting or a telephone call, some last-minute deadline rears its ugly head, or some sort of family emergency presents itself. The only way writing happens is that you decide you’re going to write and you just do it, not giving in to those voices in your head that can come up with umpteen number of excuses as to why now is not a good time.
If you want to get those writing projects done, there are two ways to approach it:
Schedule time for writing.
Cobble together writing moments.
Expanding on those 2 approaches, here are 10 tips on how to find the time to write:
1. Set your alarm to get up earlier (or stay up an hour later). Make your day longer, and commit that time to your writing. You could also give up a specific amount of time each day that you spend watching TV, or checking Facebook or other social media sites.
2. Take a writing break instead of a coffee break in the afternoon (but do drink your coffee. Maybe even reward yourself with a special coffee or latte when you first start out). Or schedule two or three lunches hours a week to do your writing.
3. If your workweek is packed, schedule time each weekend to do your writing. Make this a “sacred” time where you do not cave in to chores, family demands, or wimp out checking e-mail! Set an attainable goal like writing two or three blog entries, one report or an essay.
4. You CAN train yourself to write on demand. Just make it easy to write whenever inspiration strikes. Keep pen and paper handy. If you’re waiting for a meeting to start or stuck in line at a grocery store, jot down ideas. Write the first paragraph of your newsletter article. Keep a pad in your gym bag or next to the bed.
5. Make a “date” with yourself. Schedule an hour to write, rewarding yourself with, say a chocolate, when the hour is up.
6. For many people, writing does require a certain mindset, some time to get the brain into a creative flow. Do “warm up” exercises like writing a journal entry, or editing some old work. If stamina is your problem, start by committing to ten or fifteen minutes each day. Set a timer, than promise yourself that you can stop or continue if you feel like it. These little tricks develop your writing muscles, and over time you’ll see how much more easily the words flow.
7. Instead of setting a predetermined amount of time, set a daily writing quota. One page of the report, one short blog entry, the first 2 paragraphs of your newsletter article, etc.
8. Stockpile your writing. When you’re stuck on a train or plane, take advantage of the opportunity to write your daily quota to get ahead. Write an extra article or blog entry, and you’ll have a reserve for those days when your muse goes on strike. (This is also a great way to kill boredom and more productive than reading those in-flight magazines!)
9. Don’t turn it into a chore by requiring perfect prose! This is “creative” time, where you get the ideas and words on the page. Grammar, flow, all that stuff comes later as “work” time, not writing time.
10. Lastly, whether you are writing a blog entry, a report, your resume, or a poem, because it’s a creative task, you will find your inner “Censor” raising its ugly head! Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way “…Censor’s negative opinions are not the truth.” “…stop taking the Censor as the voice of reason and learn to hear it for the blocking device that it is.” Be aware of what that inner voice of negativity is saying to you and how it’s blocking you from writing. The only way around it is to “Just do it”…take up your pen and write!
Those of us who write for a living know there is no “perfect” time to write and that there are only 24 hours in a day. So we make best use of what we have. Apply one or all of these ten tips and you will find your writing output steadily increasing!
“It always seems impossible until done.” – Nelson Mendela
“Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – St. Pope John XXIII
This appeared in the Spring issue of Bizbash, a magazine for event planners:
How to communicate gently that social media is banned at your event:
Please, the bride and groom request the joyful sight of your smiles without the distraction of any devices or cameras.