This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Writing seems to be on a lot of people's wish lists and I understand that perfectly – books are awesome, after all. For most, though, it remains just that; an item on a bucket list, sandwiched between swimming with dolphins and eating Fugu.
However, since you're reading this, I assume you're ready to take the first step to making your dream a reality. Or, perhaps, you've been writing for a while, but are frustrated by your lack of progress, the way months and years slip by and your WIP still, stubbornly, refuses to limp over the finish line.
I apologise in advance, but this is not going to be a cuddly article with gentle advice because the hard truth is this: if you want to write, you find the time.
Or, to put it another way, if you don't find the time you will never write a novel. Let that sink in. Say it out loud if necessary.
How do you feel?
Assuming you're still reading, here are some tips on finding the time:
Stop watching television. Okay, maybe that's a little drastic, but consider your viewing habits. Do you spend three hours of an evening flicking through the channels? Do you regularly get 'caught' by a film or programme you don't really want to watch but end up seeing through to the end anyway? Replace this with one episode of something you really love (I favour DVD box sets for this) and use the remaining two hours to write.
Set your alarm an hour earlier in the morning. Even allowing time to make an extra cup of tea or coffee to make the early start more palatable, you'll create 55 minutes of pure, uninterrupted writing time.
Cut something out of your life. What do you do on the weekends? Other hobbies may have to take a backseat so that you can dedicate one day a week to writing.
Examine your week for hidden opportunities. If you commute, you could write on the train or bus. If you drive to work, perhaps you could use the time to think about your WIP, keeping the story fresh in your mind and making it easier to keep working on it.
If you have young children, then ignoring the cleaning and using their nap time to write is essential. If they're older and you've reached the taxi stage, then carry a notebook or tablet with you so that you can write while waiting for them during sport or music lessons.
Start saying 'no'. If you want to make the time to write, you're going to have to make it a priority. I'm not suggesting you live the life of a hermit, but you will need to turn down some social invitations. Don't worry, your true friends will understand and will be cheering you on.
Saying 'no' also applies to as many non-essential responsibilities as possible, and, most importantly, perfectionism. You can't do everything. Nobody can.
Put writing time in your diary just like any other commitment and stick to it. Start small by blocking out just twenty minutes a day. If you can't manage that, then you may need to rethink how much you actually want to finish a book.