5 Ways to Make Time to Write Each Day
Finding consistent time to write may be one of the most challenging aspects of putting together a manuscript. In days that seem stacked with tasks, carving out time to write can feel nearly impossible. But maybe it’s more about creating a habit than finding more time. Here are 5 ways to help you dedicate time to writing every day.
Time to Write: Create a writing workspace.
To get into the mental space of writing each day, you also need a physical space set for writing. If possible, this space needs to be away from distractions, such as TVs, phones, family members (not that we don’t love them dearly), and other things that can break your train of thought. The space needs to be conducive to your focus needs and physically comfortable. It might seem like a lovely idea to write while sitting on the beach, but flying sand and screen glare may give you second thoughts. A noisy coffee shop may be detrimental to your concentration…or it might provide just the right amount of white noise you need to really focus. Wherever it is, once you have your space, make it your habit to write here as much as possible.
Create a writing routine.
If you’re like most writers, you don’t have the luxury of sitting down at your computer during a normal workday to tap away at words for hours on end. You most likely must squeeze in time to write before or after work, late at night, early in the morning, at lunch, or during the moments you can steal a few minutes away. Even so, as much as possible, set aside a specific time each day to write and stick with it. Even when you don’t want to. Even if it’s only five minutes. When you stick to a set time, eventually your writing will become a habit you don’t need to “squeeze in” to your schedule as much as your work other things around.
Set a word-count goal for each day.
Don’t go crazy here, but remember that setting a goal can be a very helpful way to find the time to write. Pros may hit 3,000 words each day without breaking a sweat, but there are those times when they only get 150 on paper. Your goal needs to be doable because one successful day makes you want another successful day, and so on. Set your goal too high, and you become frustrated and discouraged. Word-count goals are a great intrinsic motivator. Some days you’ll struggle to put one word after another; other days you’ll fly. Setting a consistent goal of 300-500 words per day is usually doable and helps instill the habit of daily writing.
Ask your loved ones to support (and respect) your writing time.
This one seems obvious and like maybe we shouldn’t have to ask, but the simple act of communicating to friends and family that your writing time is set for a specific time each day makes it real for them — and for you. That means no interruptions unless someone’s bleeding. It means to silence your phone and close the tabs on your computer that aren’t related to what you’re writing. Follow your own rule, too. (For instance, some writers feel a strong compulsion everyday to clean their entire house before sitting down to write. That’s really just procrastination. Your dirty house will still be waiting for you to clean it after your scheduled writing time.) If you set a boundary, you yourself must stick to it…otherwise, no one else will, either.
Give up something that wastes time.
Social media, anyone? Just imagine how many words you could write each day just by giving up 30 minutes on social media, skipping a show you regularly watch, or foregoing another activity that’s less important than your writing project. Chances are, you won’t really miss the activity you give up. The longer you make writing a priority each day, the more you’ll find time for it and yearn to be doing it.
New habits don’t form by themselves, but brain experts tell us it can take as few as 18 days of doing a thing to form a new habit. We all get 24 hours in a day; how we use them reflects our priorities. When writing daily is a priority and a choice, you’ll find more time for it.