This is only my second article so far, but I’m really starting to enjoy this segment of the blog. All the research I am doing for these pieces has taught me a lot of valuable information, and I can only hope that it does for any that are reading it as well.
This week’s article is Part 2 of How to Find Time to Write When You Work Full-Time. The first part was centred on making time to write. Today’s focuses more on the actual writing part of it.
So now you’ve slightly figured out when you’ll be writing, and you are starting to do the writing you promised yourself you would do. It’s time to set some goals, write often and have fun doing it.
Set Your Goal
During the process of setting time to write, you may have noticed what time of the day you yield more content. For me, as I am a morning person, the early morning seems to be the best time to write, so I strive to get my writing done around this time. As it becomes a habit, you can get an idea of how much you will write in your allotted time.
It’s important that you use this as a guideline to provide yourself some goals. Give yourself a target by the end of the week. 10 minutes a day could equate to 500 words, which means you will get 3500 words written by the end of the week if you write ten minutes every day. Some of us yield much less than this.
Just make sure you set yourself a SMART goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely and is generally used in business, but it translates to any kinds of goals.
Specific – A well-defined goal with parameters such as – “I will write a character sheet for my main character, supporting characters and backstory for all of them,” or “I will develop the setting of my high fantasy by charting a map, defining the locales and creating their agricultural, industrial and philosophical backgrounds.”
Measurable – Creating an obtainable goal and defining it has been completed. “By the end of the week, chapter 1 will be coursed out with a complete detail of what my characters have done,” or “3000 words have been written.”
Achievable – making sure that you can reach your goal is the key. Never give yourself a target that is stretching your boundaries and causing undue stress. Like if you realise you can only write 100 words a day, it is not very smart to give yourself a 3000 word limit.
Realistic – This is similar to the point above, but it also requires for you to have the available resources and time. The goal you’re setting shouldn’t be the same week to week because maybe there’s a PTA meeting this week, which will take away your ability to write on one day.
Timely – Provide yourself enough time to complete your task, as you want to achieve it. It is also important to not give yourself too much time or too easy a goal as it will mean you will likely get side-tracked.
Once you’ve set yourself a goal, remember to…
Try to spend 10 minutes every day writing. It doesn’t matter if this is just spent writing in a journal, a blog or towards a story/book. What it ensures is that you are actively training your brain to think that writing is a behaviour. Slowly it will become second nature. Eventually your creativity will spark the moment you sit down to write.
Remember to turn off the world when you’re writing, as well. If you are actively setting yourself time to write, make sure you set yourself up for success. Turn off the TV and the internet, and set yourself some inspiring tunes in the background. It’s so easy to get distracted, and the last thing you want to do is squander this hard-earned time on that.
Once it becomes habit, your main pitfall is that sometimes you will start having more ideas than time, but a prolific writer is a happy writer. Which brings me to my last point…
Don’t Get Disillusioned
This is perhaps the most important one of all. The idea of writing is that you enjoy it. It’s a hobby, after all. You have your full-time job (for good or ill), and writing is just an outlet – something done in the edges of your day. So why proceed if you enjoy it?
It is really easy to look at all of this and just throw up your arms to the air in frustration. It’s in your too-hard-basket, but if you are truly committed (pun-definitely-intended) you will keep at it. Every story you write, every rejection you receive, every bit of criticism will help you grow to be a better writer.
So write often! Write to live. And most of all, have fun!