Monday, January 25, 2010

Writing 101: Finding Time to Write

Welcome to Writing 101.

Many people aspire to writing, getting published, finishing a book, and so forth. But for most of those I have spoken with and observed (blogs, twitter, etc.), the single greatest obstacle to realizing their writing dream is finding time to write--not talent, not imagination, not desire, but time. Think about that. Are you in this category?

At this point in my writing life, finding time seems simple--but I remember years ago when it was real struggle. In the early years, weeks, sometimes months would pass with little forward progress and it took years to develop good habits. If you are having this problem, here are some tips for finding, or rather making time to write.

Your mileage will vary, but I am confident ANYONE can make 5 hours a week to write. That adds up to 250+ hours per year. MOST PEOPLE can make 10+ hours each week (520 hours/year) and a MOTIVATED PERSON with a professional attitude toward writing can make 15+ hours per week.

But how?

Here are the top two. These are changes you can make, probably without impacting anyone else in your life. I have another list that starts to affect other people, but that will be another post. Hope you find this useful:

#1 -- TURN OFF THE TV -- do I have to explain this one? Most people watch 2+ hours of TV every day. This is not quality time. This is wasted time. Even the news, even educational programs--all television viewing is waste. On your deathbed, you will not look back and think, “Wow, I wish I had spent more time in front of the flat screen.”

For a typical 2-hour per day viewer,14 hours per week have been freed up for writing. That’s 728 hours per year. For an average writer, this is a book. For a fast writer, it’s two or three. You might want to use about 4 of those hours to exercise, do some cardio, maybe get in shape (another dream many people have, but don’t think they have time for).

#2 -- TURN OFF THOSE VIDEO GAMES. Sure, not everyone does this, but those who do know what a time-suck this can be. Hardcore gamers spend 20-40 hours per week playing video games. Casual gamers play 5-10 hours per week. And yes kids, this is an utter waste of time.

I’m a gamer. Used to be a hardcore gamer. Here is what I do now that I am a writer: I don’t game when working on a book. However, I do take time between books to play through 1 or 2 best-of-the year kind of games. It scratches the itch, and frees up a ton of time for writing.

For me, this was the hardest habit to change. Took over 5 years to decide the writing was more important and to unplug the console. What I am writing these days is far more interesting than even the best games, so nowadays put them aside without really thinking about it.

So there you go: 14-20 hours per week are now available for you to start that writing project. What are you waiting for? A swift kick in the ass?

1 comment:

MichaelAndJohnny said...

A Very Good Wake Up Call, I'm 13 And I Want To Write But Never Have Enough Time, This Answers It.