Writing takes time and serious commitment. I’m not going to try to sugar coat it and I’m definitely not going to try to convince you otherwise. And if you think that I’m going to bestow upon you the magical elixir that will make you finish your novel then you might as well stop reading now.
It can be daunting and sometimes you’ll want to gouge your eyes out and never write another word, but when you have those days try to remember why you started writing in the first place.
When I finished my first draft of Hello, Darkness, many fellow writers messaged me asking how I found the time and motivation to write. My initial response was, “I didn’t find the time. I made it.”
And this is how I did it. These are my 7 Tips for Finding Time and Motivation.
1.) Remove distractions.
- I know, Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black are addicting but they are also distractions that take away huge chunks of your time. Tip: Use it as a reward if you hit a goal.
- Social media. Seriously, Pinterest would take over my life if I didn’t pay attention. Limit your time and don’t allow yourself to even open the browser when it’s your writing time.
- When I write, I place my phone on silent and turn it upside down or on particularly tempting days I even put it in a completely different room.
2.) Schedule time if needed.
- You know your life better than anyone. If you know you have one hour after the kids go to bed all to yourself. Then bingo, there is your writing time.
- I’ve personally started taking my lunch to work so I can use the 30-minute lunch break to work on blog posts or plot scenes. That way when I get home that’s one less thing I have to do.
3.) Keep your work area neat and clean.
- This may not be a big deal to some people but I know for me if the immediate area around me isn’t tidy then neither are my thoughts. I work much better in a clean space.
4.) Your first draft will be shit, and that’s okay.
- Sometimes I find myself caught up trying to get a scene just right and it really puts a damper on progression. I often remind myself that it’s only the first draft and I need to move on. It’s much more important to tell the story to yourself and get it down then it is for it to be perfect. No one else will see it. Allow yourself to write shit.
5.) Come up with a ritual.
- Most of the time, I like to start a writing session with a shower. I can get in the right headspace and I plot the scene I’m going to be working on. I know I write best in quiet spaces. I turn off all distractions and turn on my desk lamp, (even sometimes during the day). This just signals something in my brain that it’s time to write.
- Consider the time of day that works for you.
- Word sprints have become a staple in my writing routine. I know that in a 30-minute session I can write 500 words. Typically, I can do two of these a night. Not bad, for having a full-time job.
6.) Set attainable goals and stick to them.
- I personally like monthly goals. But you can set yourself yearly, quarterly or daily if you’d like.
- I like word count goals. While I don’t exactly set them, I like to write a number of words I’ve written that day on the calendar, so when it’s a big fat “0” I have to stare at it.
- Make a personal contract with yourself. I’ll provide a template here: Personal Contract
7.) Stop making excuses.
- I can hear them now, “if I didn’t work so much, then I could write.” “If I wasn’t so busy.” “I binge watched Game of Thrones because I was so tired…” Trust me, I’ve used them. But we need to stop.
Motivation comes from within you. No one can achieve your goals better than you. If you’re not motivated to chase after your dreams then maybe they aren’t big enough. After all, your dreams don’t work unless you do.
I hope you have a wonderful week and as always if you have anything you would like me to talk about in a future blog tweet me @shauna_philp.
Thank you for stopping in. I hope these tips have inspired you and if you liked what you saw don’t forget to like and comment below if you have any additional tips!