Today’s blog post is written by Ari Meghlen. Thanks, Ari!
Firstly, thanks so much to Rachel for inviting me onto her awesome blog and share my thoughts with all her readers.
Unless you’re a full-time writer, you will have to carve out time for your writing throughout a million and one other tasks from errands, to chores, to a job etc.
So, you need to guard your writing time and here are some simple tips to start you off:
Set a Commitment
Give yourself a commitment. Whether that’s a daily word count, a monthly scene quota or just a single deadline to complete the first draft. Write it down. Put it somewhere you can see it every day when you sit down to write. Add in a reward for yourself for when you reach that commitment.
Decide the Outcome
Knowing what you want to have done when you sit down to write will reduce delays. If you’re a plotter, keep your outline close and know what part you want to be writing that day. If you’re a pantser, decide what you want to be writing – a chapter, a scene etc.
This will save you wasting time sitting before a blank screen wondering what you should write. The point is to use as much of your writing time actually writing.
Don’t Answer the Phone
If you are not waiting for a specific call, and it’s not an emergency, don’t answer the phone. If you are able, put your mobile phone on silent during the time of your writing. You can always ring people back after your writing session.
Turn your phone face down, so that you don’t see it lighting up when you get a text or a call.
Limit your Email Checks
Pick a time for checking your emails and then shut them down and stay out of the Inbox. Like the calls, unless you are expecting an important email, keep yourself logged out during your writing time. Emails can wait.
You can even set up an automatic out of office message to bounce to anyone who emails you, letting them know when you will be responding.
Time is Money
When you work a job, you give up time in exchange for money. Considering your time in terms of money, can really help you to give it its due priority. It can also help you protect it more effectively and be more likely to say no to unwanted distractions and interruptions.
Let go of Perfection
If you are writing your first draft, don’t aim for perfection right off the bat. Just get it written. In the past I got caught up in a cycle of writing and editing. What happened? I struggled to get anything finished. I would get stressed and bounce to a new story.
When I decided to push through and actually stop editing as I was writing my first drafts, (which was really hard) I started to finish things. This was a great boost as it made me write more in each sitting.
Remember that no one cares as much about your writing time as you do. Just a few small steps can help you set aside time for your writing and protect that time.
Ari is a writer of both traditional fantasy and preternatural urban fantasy. She also blogs about writing and runs the Twitter Writing Game #TheMerryWriter with Rachel :)
When not deep in her worlds full of scheming monsters, vengeful demons or lost souls, Ari spends her time reading, making jewellery, playing boardgames (not very well) and wandering aimlessly about in nature.
Most days she is surrounded by her noisy cats and an ever-growing pile of books though she also enjoys watching really bad movies with her boyfriend.