I loved this article from one of my favourite bloggers – joanna penn. I really relate to so much of what she says about finding time to write and using it wisely. In some ways, it is perhaps easier when we are super busy (ie. working full time) as our time is very precious and we use it very carefully…
My routine is to do new writing on weekends and sometimes in the evenings when I am not too tired. I also love the rare days when I have a day off, kids are all at school, and I can write! If I get a good stretch of time, I often find I can develop a real flow and have a ‘good writing’ day. Love them! I also need peace and quiet, so I prefer my library/study for writing.
On the days/nights when I feel tired and less creative (and there are plenty), I will do proof-reading, checking/reading books, or spend time on promotion and social media. There is always plenty to do!
What routines help you to get your best writing?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
And speaking of romantic distractions, do you have problems with distractions when writing? It is very hard in the busy modern world to avoid them. I have some personal tricks which help me… (but you may have to be strict with yourself!)
- Find something stimulating to distract the children (I know screen-time is always enticing, but you might feel less guilty if its something more productive. My kids love lego, puzzles and board games too. Or perhaps quality time with some of their family and friends.
- Give yourself permission to have time off ‘busy-jobs’, Preferably, find a quiet room where there are no demanding creatures or gadgets (that includes cats, dogs, mobile phones, clocks, washing machines, irons, etc…)
- If you are writing into your computer, shut down your email, social media, everything that is not related to your writing. And even if you have author pages etc, shut them too. Set aside a separate time for promotion and social media – now is writing time!
- NO computer games. Not even as light relief. You know they will take over your attention. Just don’t even go there. Spend your ‘down time’ doing some research/background instead. Think about your characters, look for pictures on the internet that help to illustrate the people and places you are writing about. If you are feeling stuck in your story, think about another part of the book. Or write some notes and develop the plot on a separate document. Sometimes I do a timeline if I’m trying to keep track of who does what when, especially when I have books that are interrelated/part of a series. That sort of job is good when you are not feeling very inspired.
- If you are really stuck on the book you wanted to work on, start another book. Think about other ideas. I usually have at least 5 books I am working on at any one time. Some are set in the French revolution, another in contemporary Greece, another in Australia. Go where your mood takes you!
- Once you do have some ideas that you want to write down, nurture the flow and do all you can to avoid stalling. I have a special trick that has always worked well for me that I will share with you soon…
I hope some of these ideas for avoiding distractions resonate with you. Not everything will be relevant perhaps… I would love to know what works for you!