Subscribe for latest news & serialized work

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Organize Time to Write

In the course of my writing career, people have often asked me, "How do you find time to write?" Truth be told, there is no better clear cut answer to this other than, I force myself to sit down and write. Many successful authors schedule their writing time every day, whether the muse is awake or not. I suppose my question in return would be: How bad do you want to be a writer? Do you want to be a hobbyist or do you want to write for a living? 
If the latter, then we have to move beyond distractions and come up with a time-writing plan to defeat them. All plans will be different, so keep in mind that there isn't one solid plan that will work for all. But below is a general guideline to help you create one that works for you, and your family, if you have children. Below is a step-by-step plan based on my own model:

1. Make a List of Distractions or Obstacles

Write a list of the top distractions or obstacles in your life that rob you of your writing time. Mine are listed below: 

Fatigue- Normally, this wouldn't be a distraction, but due to recent health problems, this would have to be my biggest obstacle to finding time to write. I suffer from chronic fatigue, among other things, so overcoming this is at the top of my priority list in order to return to a normal and healthier life. If you'd like to read more about how I manage this, visit this link where I am documenting my journey to healing by clicking, here.

Housework- Sometimes, running the household, keeping up with the grunt work of cleaning up the mess can keep me from taking time to write, and in a moment I will explain how we can get better at this and have the whole family help with that.

Social Media- getting sucked into Facebook debates on other people's walls, or reading other people's memes is a MASSIVE distraction for me. As much as I love discussing politics or world issues, I simply don't have the time or energy to expend debating when I should be focused on writing. Besides, if it's one thing I've learned, I have yet to see anyone on social media say, "Hey, that's a good point. I never saw it that way. You have officially changed my view. Thank you total stranger." Everyone has their own agenda and no one wants to lose face in front of their peers, so no matter how tempting it is, or how moronic you think the person sounds, just don't do it. Trust me. I've learned the hard way. It's just not worth it. If you disagree, think of your wall as your home, your own personal space. If you don't want anyone telling you how to run your home or what to think, then don't do it on another friend or family's wall. If you must engage in nasty debates, reserve them when someone disrespects your personal space and lectures you on your wall if you really feel that passionate about what you posted and are willing to defend it. Believe me, it is possible to move on to something else if you see something that offends you.  It's a HUGE time waster and not good for anyone's health. That's my two cents on that.

2. Devise an Attainable Plan to Defeat Distractions and Obstacles

Keep your plan simple and your goals reachable. Don't set unrealistic expectations that will discourage you from getting you off track. Below is how I devise an attainable plan to defeat the distractions and obstacles I listed previously.

Fatigue: I need to get a full night's rest by going to bed at a reasonable time, even if I'm not sleepy. Also, I try to exercise 30 minutes to 1 hr a day and eat well for more energy.

Housework: I need to delegate cleaning time to other 

members of the family. After all, we all cohabit the same environment, we can all contribute to keeping it clean. Having chore charts like the one you see here, helps. Mine is very basic, but it gives you a general idea. It helps if you involve your family in the creation of this chart, so they feel a sense of ownership in this process. This will help them take accountability for their part, as well. 

Social Media: Social media is the Bermuda Triangle of stealing away a writer's time to write. My goal is to designate a time frame for social media and not deviate from that. Because I market on several different platforms, I have set no more than an hour a day for my social media time. Also, if you prefer to schedule your social media posts, is an excellent source, especially if like myself, you have several platforms you use.

3. Set an attainable goal to write every day

On the days when my kiddo is away with my ex-husband, I can spend hours writing, but when I need to play mommy, my realistic time frame is 1- 3 hrs. a day if I'm not working my pay-the-bills job, or 30 minutes if I am. I usually do that during my breaks or lunch hour. I realize that it doesn't make me the life of the social party at work, but I have to squeeze in as much writing as possible, so sorry, gossiping about who's doing what, can wait. Unless of course, it's really juicy and I can use that as writing material, then I could probably spare a minute or two- kidding!

When I'm working from home, I don't even play with waiting until after the kiddo is in bed in order to write, anymore. My little one has enough energy to power a whole city, and I'm usually wiped by the end of the day, so it has to get done first part of the morning when little one is at school or that writing day is gone. Besides, I really enjoy my mommy times and would rather spend the rest of my day helping with homework or working on a project together. Although, she's gotten too old for homework help now, sigh, but you get the point.

4. Devise a Realistic Plan to Schedule Your Writing Goal into Your Day

I have found that if I make a schedule with my writing time frame in mind, and I keep it in a place I will see every day, I will have a tendency to stick to it. Remember to be flexible. You may not be able to commit to that schedule everyday, but at least now you have a guideline from which you can springboard into writing every day. Here's a sample of my typical day. Of course it will vary when there are errands to run or family appointments to attend, which happens quite frequently, so keep that flexibility in mind. Most successful authors will tell you that your family MUST conform to your writing schedule, and in some ways, there is some truth to that. However, keep in mind that these successful authors also have personal assistants and are rolling in the dough from their more recent best-seller, but for many of us starving artists, when we're busy raising a family, or simply earning a living, that's just not realistic. The key is to take the time to write each day,  and giving ourselves that flexibility will keep us from stressing too much over what we didn't get to do, because the important thing is that we did something.  

My Typical Daily Schedule

6 a.m.- 8 Make breakfast, take kiddo to school, walk dog, feed pets

8:00- 9:30 Exercise

9:30- noon Writing projects

Noon-2 make lunch, eat lunch

2-3 Social Media marketing

3-4 Household stuff

4- bedtime Homework help, household chores, make dinner, life stuff with family, etc

Well that's it! I hope this was helpful and that you were able to devise a plan to beat procrastination. Writing isn't easy, and for most writers, who have pay-the-bills jobs, we don't have the luxury to wait until the muse strikes. We have to make ourselves sit down and simply, write! Thanks for reading.



  1. Great advice, Jax! A boost I need more often than I like to admit. In case you didn't know, you are my heroine, Jax!

    1. You're welcome, Julia. I really appreciate your kind words.