Life vs. Writing

07/12/2015 Discussions, Writing 8

Life vs. WritingI don’t know about you, but these days it seems like all I have to do is blink and another day has gone. Life is so fast-paced these days, and it seems like there’s so much to do that I often find I’ve gone days and have hardly written a word.

So how do you reconcile a busy life (complete with a job, friends, family and a social life) with the solitary and time-consuming pursuit of writing? Whilst I’m probably not the best person to answer this question (as a master of procrastination!) I do have a few little tips, and I’d be interested to hear how you balance your own life with writing.

So here are my tips:

  • Set aside time and make it sacred

Whilst I tend to write my blog posts just as and when I have chance, I do try and schedule time in the week for some fiction writing, and as far as possible I stick to that time no matter what. It certainly isn’t the same time every week, but once I’ve decided it’s pretty much set in stone, whether it means getting up an hour earlier before work, or spending some of my downtime in the evening on it.

  • Make use of your commute/breaks

One way I manage to fit more writing into my life is through using my breaks at work. I’d feel kind of stupid sat in the little canteen at work with my laptop, but I do sit there with Evernote open on my phone drafting blog posts. Not only is it an inconspicuous way to write, it’s also synced up with my laptop, so I have immediate access to all my drafts at home, without having to copy them up from my phone. If you take a bus or train to work you could even use this time as well (or instead of) your breaks to write, and it then doesn’t impose on your out-of-work time. You would have to be there anyway, so why not use that time to write?

  • Choose writing over time-wasting

Everyone has a bad time-wasting habit: maybe that habit is browsing Facebook or Twitter for literally hours at a time (although a little bit of social media is definitely not a bad thing – especially if you’re trying to build some hype around your writing or make writerly friends), or watching that crappy TV show every week. Just substituting that habit for a short writing session can massively boost your writing productivity, and is a pretty non-invasive way of getting more writing into your life. So if you’re at a loose end and want something to do, choose writing!

  • Gain life experience

This one may seem kind of bizarre in a writing productivity themed post, but being a good writer isn’t all about the actual act of writing (although it certainly helps!). Although I’ve emphasised the importance of seizing every available opportunity to write, at the end of the day, you can’t be writing all day every day. Not only is that a recipe for burnout, but it also won’t help your writing. After all, if you did nothing but sit at a desk and write all day what kind of life experience would you have to draw upon in your writing? Even just walking to a cafe can give you great material for your writing: perhaps an interesting looking person you see along the way who would make a great character, or a little antique shop that would make a great setting. In the hustle and bustle of modern life it can be so easy to overlook these things, but if you look close enough you can find inspiration in almost anything, and to me that’s the key to balancing life and writing: live your life to the fullest and let that inform your writing.

So how do you balance life and writing? Do you struggle to fit writing in, or is it now just an ingrained part of your routine?

8 Responses to “Life vs. Writing”

  1. Pamela

    Fitting writing in my daily life is one of my biggest struggles, and college is to blame, honestly. It was so much easier in high school! (Then the no time to write was actually me and my proscratinating tendencies’ fault). It’s gotten to the point to where I sometimes I’m faced with the decision WHICH ONE IS MORE IMPORTANT D: But I’ve found that often, doing sone writing during breaks definitely helps!

    • Laura

      I remember the entire time I was at college and university I did hardly any writing that wasn’t an essay, so I totally understand your struggle! I hate when it feels like you have to choose like that, so I hope things get easier for you soon.

  2. Gemma

    This is something I’ve been struggling with for a while and I’m still trying to find a balance. I tend to try and do some writing when I get in from work, after dinner and before I watch any TV/read which I find works for me. But I still find it tricky to stick to sometimes, partiularly after a tiring day at work! I love your advice in this post – I think ‘choose writing over time wasting’ is such an important one and something I’m going to try and do more of. Great post 🙂

    • Laura

      I totally get what you mean. If I write after work I usually try and do it as soon as I come in, before I get settled, otherwise I’ll just put the TV on and curl up on the sofa, especially after a long day. It is hard to stick to sometimes though, although it does feel good when you manage to make progress with your writing! 🙂

  3. Topaz @ Six Impossible Things

    Lovely tips, Laura! I do try to make a commitment to myself to write – and although sometimes school and such needs to come first, the majority of the time I keep that commitment. I also have a weekly poetry series on my blog, and that is a commitment I have to keep not only to myself, but to my readers as well. It’s truly made my writing grow in leaps and bounds, because every Friday, rain or shine, busy or relaxed, I am sitting down and writing another poem and posting it on the blog. I think it’s the best way I’ve found to maintain my writing schedule! xx

    • Laura

      Your writing schedule sounds good, and it’s great that you manage to stick to it so well. I have noticed that when I have stuck more rigidly to a schedule my own writing has improved a lot too, so it really does work! 🙂
      I have definitely read a few of your poems from your poetry series, and they are awesome! So beautifully written 🙂

    • Laura

      That sounds like a good goal for 2016! I have gotten a little better at regular writing recently, but I’m going to try and keep going with it next year.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.