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Before we get into our guest post, this is an incredibly important topic. I freelance full-time and somedays don’t manage the time to write. This post from Maureen Bonatch has some valuable stuff, but it will only help if you implement it.
Maureen is a mom, author, freelance coach, the list goes on (below) . It’s obvious she knows a thing or two about finding time to write. Listen up and enjoy!
We all get the same twenty-four hours a day. Only you can decide what to do with them. Here are a few methods to stake your claim on some writing time.
Covet your Creative time
- Get up Early or Stay up Late. Only you know when you’re the most productive. This sought-after time is when the words flow like water from a faucet. Committing even a half hour to writing can make a difference. You can produce more—and often better— prose during this creative time. More on determining and utilizing your most creative time of the day
- Make it Happen. Hook up with a like-minded buddy and share your productivity plan. Together you can ensure neither is indulging in procrastination during your planned writing time. Schedule this time on your calendar. Be accountable- check in with each other with an email or text. Guilt and peer pressure do wonders for incentive.
- No excuses. Skipping once or twice might sound like a good idea, but there’s always an available excuse. Make writing your priority. If necessary, reduce your scheduled time. Even ten minutes at the computer will help you work toward your goal. Keep your writing fresh and you’ll always be ready to dive back in.
Organize Your Time on the Computer
- Race against the clock. A big time suck for many people is email and social media. Set a timer- for a half hour, or an hour, and use that time to alternate between writing and social media. Seek out other like-minded writers on twitter and participate in writing sprints.
- Organize your emails with folders, star the most important and save them for later Clean out those old emails festering in your inbox that you might like to read. If it’s too hard to get rid of them, put them in a shiny new folder you can label ‘Check out later’. If later never comes—they weren’t that important. To expedite your email organization, try changing the order of your emails. Sort them into ones that are starred, by sender, or most recent.
- Plan ahead and schedule your social media. Using Hootsuite, or Roundteam so you aren’t interrupting your writing time. Click For more tips on email management.
Kill Two Birds with One Stone—Multi-Task
- Listen and Learn. About all those podcasts and webinars you want to listen to? Save the replay and play it while you: Sort email, post on social media, research, edit, or write while you’re listening.
- Energize with Exercise. Have a treadmill? Make a DIY treadmill desk and get out of the chair for some much needed movement while editing, writing, reviewing emails or listening to podcasts/webinars. No treadmill? Sometimes a walk around the block will get creative juices flowing so you can return to work fresh and inspired. Here’s an example of a DIY Treadmill Desk.
- Sneak in snippets of creativity. For when you physically have to be somewhere but your mind wants to play—let it. Stockpile those snippets of inspiration. Here area few fun methods to keep your creative juices flowing on a dull day.
Those Stolen Minutes Add Up
- Inspiration can’t be forced. And it often strikes at the least expected times. Be prepared with a tablet to jot notes, your phone’s notepad, or even a napkin will work in a pinch. More Ways to Steal Snippets of Time.
- Be ready. Make a ‘go-to’ bag that includes all of your essential writing supplies. Pens, tablet, laptop table and take it with you. Write on your lunch break, while your kids are in activities, or pull it out during television commercials.
- Stop perfectionism. Most writers are their own harshest critics. Let your writing sit while you work on something else. Return to it, and do another pass through, and then either seek another opinion or send it out.
Make writing a Priority
- Incorporate one new step a day, or each week, to change your routine until they become habits. Track a few days to determine how you divide your time. Determine where you might be wasting time, or where you can carve out a few minutes which could be better utilized writing. Make a new habit.
- Change your mindset. Don’t call it your hobby. You do a hobby when it fits in your schedule. This is your new job—make it part of your schedule. If you only go to work when you feel like it, you won’t succeed.
- Treat your writing like a career. Don’t make excuses to your friends and family because you want to write. Tell them- you have to write. No excuses required.
You have twenty-four hours. Can you carve out an hour to spare for writing? I’d love to hear how you fit freelance writing into your busy day?
Maureen writes stories boasting laughter, light suspense and magic in the hope of sharing her love of uncovering the extraordinary in the ordinary world. She’s published in paranormal romance and fantasy. Find out more about her novels on her website. She is also a Freelance Writing Consultant with a background in healthcare, human resources and psychiatric nursing. Her writing ranges from academic to hobbyist and topics include writing, parenting, careers, mental health, healthy aging & laughter. You can find her hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. To see samples of her writing, visit her on Pinterest.