That’s what they do. If a person is not writing, how could they say they are a writer? If you do not have to write, then you will find time to do something else. Writing is, just like any talent, something that needs to always be developed.
Runners who take significant time off from running have a harder time getting back into the ‘groove’ of things. The longer they are away from running, the harder it is to run. Runners have to make time to run because runners have to run. Writers have to make time to write because writers have to write.
Can you say you are a writer if you do not write? Are you a writer or do you just say you are?
If you find it hard to make time to write here are some suggestions.
1. Make an Appointment to Write
This appointment is the most important appointment of the day. Write the appointment down on a note pad or on your PDA. Make sure it is on your calendar and visible. And make sure nothing will get in the way of you missing this appointment.
If you have kids soccer practice, if you have to go to the gym, if you have to meet lunch with a friend, the one thing on your schedule that you cannot miss is your appointment to write.
The reason a written down appointment is important is that if it is just an appointment in your head, it can get moved around. Writing it down and changing it means you have to make an effort to reschedule it. Stick to the appointment and look forward to focusing your undivided attention on writing.
Make the appointment reasonable. A 30-minute writing appointment might be pushing it. One to two hours is about right. Making the appointment too long may give you time to procrastinate – or if you run out of words, you will feel frustrated that you could not fill the full 2+ hours! Make the appointment long enough to get productive work done, but short enough so that you are forced to use every minute writing!
2. Morning Pages
Author Julia Cameron suggests writing ‘morning pages’ every morning. Spend time writing 3 pages about anything that comes to your head. These pages must be handwritten and a morning routine. At first, morning pages may seem like a daunting task. Asking yourself to commit to three pages every morning seems like too much to ask. But is it? Are you a writer? You will find, 30 minutes of morning pages can turn into 4, 5, 10 pages and it might not be enough time!
Morning pages are not novel writing. It is writing whatever comes to your mind. Your mind is always working. Thoughts flow in and out while you drive to work, while you eat breakfast, even while you watch TV. It’s not difficult to dictate your thoughts even though, and this is important, it does not make any sense at all. Just write to write!
Do not be surprised. Some of your greatest ideas for a book, story, or movie may come from writing your morning pages.
3. Take Breaks to Write
A fifteen-minute morning break, an hour lunch break, a fifteen-minute afternoon break, and a break from your daily routine in the evening can give you up to an hour of writing time. Use the fifteen-minute breaks to formulate ideas, note cards for scenes or plot points, use the longer breaks to put it all together.
Taking breaks from the normal routine is mentally healthy. Take those breaks and do something you love to do – write!
All writers need to make time to write. All writers should want to fit writing into their daily lives. If you say you are a writer but you are not writing on a consistent basis, you are not a writer.