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Finding Time to Write

Motivation, RESOURCES-TIPS

By Shirley Jump

Hi all,

I have become the queen of finding time I didn’t think I had, LOL. I’ve pasted a few tips below, that always work for me:

Get up earlier. I drag myself out of bed at 4:30 every morning. I don’t like to be up that early and would much rather be in my bed. But I also know that is my only quiet time during the day (I have two kids) and if I don’t write then, I won’t get another chance.

At that time in the morning, I write 3-5 pages.Then I print them out and take them EVERYWHERE I go. In the car, in the bathroom, at the kitchen counter. When I’m waiting at a long stop light, waiting on water to boil, grabbing my five seconds of solitude before the kids start banging on the door– whatever — I read over/edit/mark editions to those chapters. I can skeleton out at least another three pages, usually in dialogue, just bare bones stuff.

Then, after the kids go to bed, I input those pages. This is when I flesh them out, add a little here and there, pop in some description. I almost always get another 2 pages from that. In the morning, I start with revising that work, then writing the new stuff. I can do 8-10 pages a day with that system. They’re not always a good 8-10, LOL, but they keep it progressing. Just taking the pages everywhere gives me oodles of time in little increments.

Then, after the kids go to bed, I input those pages. This is when I flesh them out, add a little here and there, pop in some description. I almost always get another 2 pages from that. In the morning, I start with revising that work, then writing the new stuff. I can do 8-10 pages a day with that system. They’re not always a good 8-10, LOL, but they keep it progressing. Just taking the pages everywhere gives me oodles of time in little increments.

Make it easier on yourself. I have a coffee pot with a timer. When the alarm goes off, I know the pot is ready and waiting for me. Just knowing the caffeine IV is ready makes it easier to get going.

Make the crockpot your friend. I use a crockpot 4 days a week for dinner. Five minutes of prep, turn it on in the morning and by 6pm, dinner is done. Join slowcooker@yahoogroups.com for tons of great recipes. I gain all that prep time for dinner, have one pan to clean up, etc. I’ve done it all — baked potatoes, roasted a chicken, cooked ribs — all in the crockpot (I have three so I can usually do a veggie and a side at the same time).

Let go. The house doesn’t have to be perfect, the cookies can come from the Pillsbury Dough Boy. This is all part of prioritizing. Or, if you can afford it, hire a cleaning service. I sat down and did the math for my husband. The cleaning service SAVES me five hours of time but only COSTS me one hour of my time (at what I figure for my hourly rate). The stress savings alone in knowing I don’t have to worry about the bathroom is worth every dime.

Set daily, weekly, monthly goals. Report them to someone. It’s easier to let your writing fall by the wayside if you don’t have anything to shoot for. This incentive helps you stay on track.

Turn off the Internet connection. HOURS of time can be wasted on the Web (trust me, I know this one from personal experience). When I am working on fiction, I don’t connect my e-mail until I’ve hit my page count. Some days, its torture to wait, but it keeps me moving on those pages.

Reward yourself. Chocolate works for me. For you, it might be an hour in the garden or a trip to the movies. Once you achieve something, it’s okay to pat yourself on the back.

Don’t lose sight of the big picture. When you are looking at how many pages there are left to go in your novel or how insanely long the publishing process takes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and quit. Never forget that you are creating for you as much as you are for other people. You are investing in yourself and really, there’s no better priority than that.

Let the kids fend for themselves. Too often, we as women feel we have to do it all – make the sandwich, feed the dog, wash the floor. It is OKAY to let things go and let people take care of themselves.

Get a Quickpad or Alphasmart — my QP goes with me everywhere, too. If I feel like typing, I can. I take it to bed, wham out a few pages, etc. I find that because I can’t see the QP screen so well, I write without editing. It goes faster, is sometimes better writing, and takes the pressure off.

That’s all I can think of for now. Off to get some work done.

Shirley

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