Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Time Blocking for Writers

The #1 challenge most writers face is having enough time to write. Yes, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. And yes, we don’t “find time”, we “make time” for what’s important to us. Is your writing time a priority for you? 

Or are you like most writers… still struggling to find a way to squeeze more writing time into your life? Here are three simple things to think about when trying to fit more time to write into your day.

Where Will You Write?

Most writers will eventually find or create a rhythm that works for them, but this question is something important to consider. Maybe you steal moments of time throughout your day such as the car line, the doctor’s office, a bus ride, your kid’s soccer game, even standing in line at the grocery store. I mean ANY writing is better than NO writing, so definitely steal what you can - when you can - and where you can.

But the important thing is to be consistent. Because if you’re always writing in a different place (and at different times), it’s harder to get the momentum going. The question to take your writing to the next level is, “Where will you write?”

Having a dedicated place to write every day, week after week will help you become more consistent. Will you write in bed? On the couch? Outside in a hammock? At your office desk on the computer? On a laptop? In a notebook? At the kitchen table? In your child’s closet?

Choose a comfortable place. Make it special. Decorate it with pictures, writerly quotes, and things that inspire you. Have books, pens, highlighters, and plenty of paper handy. And when it’s time to write, go there. Take a deep breath. Smile. And do some writing.

When Will You Write?

If you’re like me, you wish you could block off 2-3 hours a day to write. That’s my ultimate dream. One day…

In the meantime, I know it’s important to write when I can (see above). But I also want to make my time more focused and productive, so it definitely helps to set aside a specific time to write. The hard part is sticking to it. But consistency makes it easier over time. Remember that your writing is important, so make it a priority.

Ask yourself how much time you can spare in a day or a week. Twenty minutes a day? Two hours once a week? What feels good to you? Schedule it and show up! Right now, I write on Tuesday nights from 8 to 10 pm. The trick is to not overschedule yourself. Be generous with kindness. But definitely schedule something.

Getting Clear on Your Goals

Lastly, once you know where you’ll be writing, and when you’ll be writing, think about your goal. There are basically two ways to measure it. You can write for time or you can write for distance (word count).

When I run, I often set a time goal (30 minutes), or a distance goal (3 miles), but not usually a speed goal (3 miles in 30 minutes). While speed workouts are great, that’s not how I do it. With writing, I never sit down and say, “I want to write 2,000 words in the next hour.” It’s always one or the other. I choose a word count goal or a time goal.

A third option is to have a scene goal. You write until the scene is finished, no matter how long it takes or how many words it takes. Sometimes I do this when I know I have more time and won’t be stressed about it.

It’s not a bad thing to stop mid-scene though. It keeps the fire alive and the momentum going. Just jot down a sentence or two (if that’s helpful) and what you want to accomplish with your next writing session.

Before long, you’ll see how having a set time and place to write will help you be more consistent with your writing. And oftentimes, you’ll end up squeezing even more writing sessions into your week.

What’s your favorite place to write? Let me know in the comments!


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