Finding Time to Write When You’re Busy

For those of you who know me, you probably know just how busy I am.  Between work and grad school, not to mention volunteering, interning, exercising, and way too many other -ings, my days are swamped.

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But I like it this way!

Of course, I still need to find time to write, and that’s something we’ve all struggled with.  Nothing’s worse than realizing you’ve wasted the whole day on Twitter or baking cookies instead of writing.

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Here are my tips.

  • Study what your brain needs, for each part of the process
    • For me, I need chunks of silent time for drafting, but editing can be done at any time
    • My brain also needs music, but not background noise. Some people swear by writing with a TV in the background. Me? Even a coffeeshop’s chatter is distracting.
    • Coffee. My brain needs coffee the way a zombie needs brains.
  • If you try a new routine, stick with it for at least a week
  • Reward yourself! Set milestones, then treat yourself! (note, do not treat yourself before the milestones. That undoes the whole process)

Now that i’ve give you some of my best pointers, I’ll let you know what works for me!

I am not a morning person. At all. If you meet me before 8am, I will glare blankly at you, before shuffling away, like the aforementioned zombie in search of brains. That being said, I’ve found I draft much better in the mornings. My brain feels more empty. I have less concerns about the rest of the day, and I’m not as stressed about my to-do list.

So when I’m drafting, I wake up by 6am, do a bit of yoga, have my coffee, and settle down for a nice hour of writing.

On the other hand, editing in the morning is a bit like eating a live toad first thing. Although some have suggested this is a great way to make the rest of the day seem easy in comparison, I simply cannot stomach it. I do my editing in spurts. Twenty minutes on the subway, an hour at lunch, and an hour before bed.

Proofreading/fine-tuning, for me, is an utterly different beast. This is the only time I print out the pages, and leave the glowing computer screen behind. There’s something really vivid about seeing the words on an actual page.

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So there you have it! My writing habits, defined. What are yous?

2 thoughts on “Finding Time to Write When You’re Busy

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