Be Disciplined

Find your best time of day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.
– Esther Freud

This is something that first-time writers often struggle with; how do you justify spending time doing something you want to do rather than getting on with the million other things that your conscience/society tells you that you should be doing in a day? There’s the nagging thought that maybe there are ‘better’ things that you should be doing with your time. Very few of us can afford to make our own writing a full-time occupation and we need to fit it around our other commitments.

I suggest that you start by breaking things down into small pieces so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

Take a look at your standard day. Work out how much time goes on work, regular family activities, travel etc. add in a decent amount of time for sleep, eating and other essentials. Don’t forget to think about the time that you take as downtime – watching TV, reading, listening to music, video gaming or whatever else you do at home for relaxation.

You may find it easiest to map all of this information out on a calendar or a spreadsheet before you extend your plan to cover a month. Now look for the patterns that emerge of free time. The truth is that, if we’re really honest with ourselves, none of us have days that are so full that there is absolutely no ‘free’ time at all and this will help you to see them.

And now you can start to make choices, specifically when to write and when you need to spend time on other things such as making money and your family and friends!  Consider swapping some of your leisure time for time writing. Even if it’s just once a week, it helps to get you into the habit.

Now block out those times that you identify as your ‘writing hours’ and try to make sure that nothing eats in to them. Because you’ve planned for this, you should be able to minimise distractions and you’ll know that you’ve allowed plenty of time for your other responsibilities.

Remember that, if you’re aim is to make a living from your writing you should approach it in the same way as any other job and you’re not going to last long in a job where you constantly let yourself get distracted from your work.


Leave A Reply (1 comment so far)

  1. Karen Revell
    5 years ago

    This is a great article and it’s so true that you still need to be focused and disciplined in your approach, even in a creative activity like writing.

    I like the idea of mapping out your information first and swapping small pieces of free time to writing time.

    Thank you.

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