I 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?