Greta it’s hard to find the time to write when you don’t write full time and have a job. How do you make time?
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All but one writer I know works full time at something else. Finding time to write is both an art and a chore. It also takes stamina when you’ve done a day at work to then come back and write when you’d rather be seeing friends or doing anything else.
But there are lots of little tricks you can use throughout your working day to integrate writing into whatever you’re doing. This means you write in the small moments, not in the big ones. Sometimes small moments turn into big ones, but mostly, they don’t – learn to be okay with that; it’s just how life is.
‘Writing in the small’, as I call it, is all about stealing back time to do something you love. And if you actually look for those small moments in a day, you can be surprised at just how many there are.
The big mistake creatives make is to think that small moments don’t count, or writing just a paragraph in a day is ‘lightweight’. When the ego gets involved, you can convince yourself that you’re not even a writer unless you write for the majority of your day. Don’t believe that voice – it’s full of shit.
Actually, it’s the small moments that add up and that help you hone your craft. Remember, George Lucas ‘designed’ the Millennium Falcon on a napkin while he was grabbing something to eat. Don’t look down on the small moments, because greatness often happens in them.
Yes, I accept that culturally, our society is all about big – big life concepts, big money, big fame, big achievements. Don’t buy into this way of thinking. Small is where it’s at. Small is where you hone your craft and find your voice. Making the most of little. Dwelling in the detail. And it’s in the small that you learn to grab back time.
Here’s a list of small moments to reclaim creatively, to get you started. See how you go with one of more of them this week:
Travelling to work
Make notes using your iPhone, or if you’re old school, take a notepad you can still use if you need to stand for your journey. If you walk or cycle to work, there’s nothing to stop you recording your ideas, or dictating a couple of paragraphs of your novel. Commuting doesn’t have to be ‘dead time’.
OK, you might need to pop outside for a ciggie, but if you do, make it a ‘ciggie and a sentence’. Setting yourself little creative tasks to accompany your daily habits soon builds daily creative habits – and before you know it, you’ve become someone a little bit different! Similarly…
If you get a lunchtime, use it wisely. And if the day just isn’t right for writing, see if you can pack a bit of inspiration into however long you have. It’s just as important for writers to have something ‘going in’, as it is to have writing ‘going out’. With a bit of effort and getting used to doing something different, lunch time can become a creative dynamo for your week.
Between appointments or meetings
You know, when you’re waiting for someone to arrive or something to start. Instead of shooting the breeze with Jim from Accounts, pick up your pen and write something. Anything’s better than nothing.
Doing your shopping
Set your iPhone to ‘record’ and dictate a line or two of your next novel, article or screenplay. Yes, you’ll be the weirdo wandering around talking to yourself. No, nobody’s going to laugh at you when you get published.
Whenever you stand in line for something, bring out your iPhone and write something. Just make it two things that go together – like a match and a flame.
Going to bed
You know, the point where you’re just about to turn off the light. Pause, before you do, end the day with a sentence or a paragraph. Just a few words. Then turn out the light.
© gvons 2015