Time and the Writer
Last week, in at least most of the United States, we set our clocks back one hour in order to return from Daylight Savings time to standard time, which means that it gets darker earlier (I personally love this) in the evening and lighter earlier in the morning (sort of). It also means, on the day of the switch, that we get to sleep in an extra hour. Which in my case meant I got to write an extra hour because my body didn't get the message about the time change so I woke up early.
And all this time changing got me thinking about time as it applies to us writers. Seems like for most of us, time is the enemy, because we never quite have enough of it to do our writing. Our chosen profession–our passion–takes time, and lots of it, because you can't rush genius. Right?
Well, maybe not.
Maybe it's time to rethink time in a more positive way. Here are some things I've learned about time the hard way:
1. Good things can happen fast. Not always, but sometimes. This is the theory behind Nanowrimo, which so many of us are participating in. When you're writing 50,000 words in a month, you're not pausing a lot to worry about which word to use next. You're just writing. And really great things happen in the writing. Always. It's getting to it that is so hard.
2. There really is enough time. We just convince ourselves there's not, because it's a matter of how we're choosing to use our time. I know if you added up all the time I'd spent surfing the internet over the last few years, I could have written at least one novel in the time I wasted.
3. When you do get time to write, maintain a laser focus. I've shared this tip a gazillion times and every time I do people write me and thank me, so I'll say it again: set a timer for 30 minutes and do nothing but write for that time. When the timer goes off, get up, take a break, then come back and do it again. This is the most efficient way to use time that I've found.
4. Take time to stand for yourself. If I'd had the confidence in myself and my writing that I have now when I was younger, I'd be a world-famous writer by now. When we don't have confidence in our worth and the worth of our writing, we don't take time to write. Procrastination is a fear issue, always.
5. Take time to make time. I have a list a mile long this week, and I'm not certain how I'm going to get it all done. And yet, this morning I took time to meditate. It's counter-intutitive, but taking time to meditate, or pray, or walk, or swim, or dance will create more time later because you'll be rested, open and alert.
6. Quit telling yourself you don't have enough time. I know, I know. I just did this in #5. There's an epidemic in this country of people rushing around telling each other that we don't have enough time. The more we say it, the more it comes true–if only because we waste so much time saying it. Turn it around. Tell yourself you have plenty of time, because you do.
7. Get up early. You night owls hate me for this one, I know. Sorry. But for me it is absolutely the best way to get to my writing done. Once I've gotten my quota in, I'm happy all day long because I know I've already accomplished that which is most important to me.
What are your best time tips for writers?
***Struggling to find time no matter how you try? Perhaps you need some coaching. Check out my services page for all the options I offer writers.
Photo by clix.