Anonymous asked: I am trying to write my very first book, and I have a very hectic schedule.. So I can't hardly ever find time to write.. I know that you also have a very hectic schedule, so how do you find time to write and keep balance with everything else you do?
I hear you on the hectic schedule thing. There are only so many hours in the day, and only so much mental space to devote to various aspects of our lives. I wish I had a magic or more helpful answer to give you, but for me, it really just comes down to priorities.
I find time to write because I am willing to give up things that I might otherwise being doing with that time. Sometimes, I write instead of sleeping. Sometimes, I stay home and write, when I’d really like to go out. Sometimes, my Tivo overflows with shows I’d love to watch, but writing has to come first. Laundry… cooking… general life maintenance… sometimes they fall by the wayside.
If you don’t have time to write, and you would like to have time to write, you have to figure out where writing falls in your priorities and then just MERCILESSLY SHOVE ASIDE THINGS THAT CAN BE SHOVED ASIDE. I once heard Nora Roberts say that if you’re juggling a bunch of different aspects of your life, it’s important to know whether the balls in the air are glass balls or plastic balls. If you drop it, will it shatter, or bounce?
What those priorities are and what you’re willing and not willing to give up is a very personal thing—and there’s not a right answer here. Maybe your life is full of glass balls right now, and writing just isn’t the priority. That is fine! The vast majority of people in the world go through life with priorities other than writing.
But if you really, really want it, if it is a priority, you just have to make the time to do it.
As for how to do that (other than aforementioned MERCILESS SHOVING), I don’t know that I have any particularly helpful wisdom, but here are some habits I seem to have adopted:
*Turning off the internet when I’m working. Minutes lost here and there can really add up. (Related: I am of the opinion that before you write your first book, time spent researching publishing (which you may or may not be doing) is time you could spend writing instead. It is easy to get lost in the vortex of talking and reading ABOUT writing instead of just doing it. I think it’s worth keeping an eye on this—and in some cases, cutting it out altogether, because until you have a finished book, all the publishing info in the world is kind of moot. As always, your mileage may vary and there is no one right answer in this business, so do what works for you).
*I frequently work at night and refuse to go to sleep until I reach my goal.
*I carry notebooks and/or my alpha smart (portable word processor) with me, so that if I have time while I am out, I can make use of that time.
*I make To Do lists each day and POWER THROUGH THEM IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO.
*One of the biggest time savers in the past few years is that I’ve learned to say “no” when people ask me to do things.
*I also find it helpful to make sure that when I’m not working, I’m actually doing something fun. Time spent randomly hopping around on the internet in a “meh” kind of way and time spent reading, watching TV, hanging out with friends, and having fun both fall under the heading “leisure time,” but only one of them really fills the tank and makes me feel like I’ve had a break from work.
*On the subject of breaks: I make myself take them. Because sometimes, taking a day off from EVERYTHING is the only thing that can recharge me to work double-pace for the following week.
And that’s about all I’ve got.