Thursday, May 24, 2018

How to Make Time to Write a Novel

You can't find time to write a novel. You have to make time. Although it might seem like a silly difference in semantics, I think it's important. 

Everybody has the same twenty-four hours in day. Many people are busy with school, work, and family. Making time to write often means giving up something else. It's a sacrifice, but if writing is something you're serious about, it's a sacrifice you'll be willing to make.

If you're struggling to make time to write, here are some strategies that might work for you. Find a system that works for you and stick to it.

1. Wake up early. You might be able to make time to write before you go to work or school, or before other people in your family wake up.

2. Stay up late. This is basically the same idea as waking up early, but it works better for night owls who are too groggy in the morning to write anything worthwhile. 

3. Be ready to write whenever the opportunity arises. Are you waiting at the doctor's office? Get out a notepad and start writing. Are you at soccer practice with your kids? Write while they play. If your schedule is very busy, you need to take whatever time you can get.

4. Create a routine that fits your schedule. Some people might tell you that you need to write every day. They're wrong. Yes, writing every day is a great habit for professional writers, or for people who aspire to be professional writers, but it simply isn't practical for everyone. The worst thing you can do is not write at all because you can't commit to writing every day. Write when you can. If that's only on Saturday afternoons when your husband takes the kids or Friday nights when you're done with school, so be it. 

5. Give up something. Time management is a zero-sum game. You only have twenty-four hours in a day, so the more time you spend on one thing, the less time you have for something else. Making time to write might mean giving up something you enjoy, whether that's playing video games, watching television, or sleeping in. 

6. Participate in NaNoWriMo. Every November, thousands of writers take part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. To "win," you need to write a 50,000-word manuscript in one month. Although it's not for everyone, many people find that this event gives them the motivation they need to churn out some serious pages. 

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