“Killing time isn't as difficult as it sounds. I can shoot a hundred numbers through the chest and watch them bleed decimal points in the palm of my hand. I can rip the numbers off a clock and watch the hour hand tick tick tick its final tock just before I fall asleep. I can suffocate seconds just by holding my breath. I've been murdering minutes for hours and no one seems to mind.” — Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me (Page 127)
|Photo credit: Plonq on Flickr|
I'm sure many of you know the feeling. As most writers have other non- writing related jobs and responsibilities (i.e.: parenting, education, work...parenting while going to school AND working, etc.), it can sometimes be difficult to set aside time to write, which in turn can make meeting your writing goals significantly more difficult.Truth is, we're all busy people trying to juggle social life and work and family and writing and all those other things, and sometimes twenty-four hours in a day just doesn't feel like nearly enough time.
But as a rather wise, H. Jackson Brown Jr., said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” (via Writer's Relief's tumblr).
The key isn't to try to cram more hours into the day (because except on Day Lights Savings, that's impossible)—it's to learn to fully utilize the time that we have.
You see, we're really good at killing time. Whether it's zoning out in front of the TV or scrolling through Twitter during our breaks, we have a tendency of wasting precious minutes, then wondering where the day has gone. Or we look at the clock and say, "No, I don't have enough time to write before I have to do x" and we go enjoy some time-wasting activities during our free moments.
But the truth is you really don't need much time to pound out a few hundred words a day.
I've mentioned Write or Die before, and I'm going to mention it again because I think it's especially helpful when we're short on time. If you don't know what Write or Die is, I explain it in more detail in my secret fast- writing strategy post, but in short, it's an app (available on the web for free) that times your writing session and plays unpleasant noises and makes the screen turn red when you start daydreaming or otherwise do something that is not writing. And the best part is you set your own time (options vary from five minutes to two hours) and word count goal (which you type in yourself).
So let's say hypothetically, you're going to work but you found you have some extra time before you have to leave. Most of the time, I imagine, those minutes would be spent doing things that don't involve writing.
However! Those are precious moments that could be spent added some extra words to your WIP. Using Write or Die (or just a normal timer), you can plug in five minutes (or ten, or fifteen, or however long you have) and get some words written. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, and no, I don't expect you to write a thousand words in five minutes (nor should you expect that from yourself), but if you use the extra free minutes scattered throughout the day to write fifty words here and fifty words there, it starts to add up. All you really need are a couple ten to fifteen minute focused writing sessions to get a few hundred words written.
Writing goals can be easy to meet if you use your time strategically. Because no, we writers aren't always gifted with huge amounts of free time, but as long as we take advantage of the free time we do have, we don't need an abundance of time to keep the momentum in our writing. We just need to use the time we have.
Do you take advantage of your free time to write? How do you manage your time?