Carving Out Time

Probably one of the biggest problems I have with writing is time. Yes, that old lament. But when writing [or any other artistic endeavor] doesn’t pay, finding enough time to hone one’s craft is a daily struggle. I’m constantly being told to write everyday, and while that is absolutely what I need to be doing, it is a daunting proposition especially when in school or working 6 days a week.

I have, however, found a some ways to keep up the writing process, even if it is not daily:

  • Set a reasonable goal. When I was looking for a job just out of college, I aimed to write 300 words a day. And because I was home all day, I usually hit that goal. When I started working more, I discovered the Pomodoro Technique. It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes, forcing yourself to write [or draw, etc]. Then you take a 5 minute break and repeat as possible. Giving yourself a set timeframe can be very motivating and help jumpstart you out of a block. I tend to stretch the timeframe out a bit, setting the timer for 30 minutes and then, on my break, wandering off to have lunch or do a chore for a while before coming back. This helps me clear my mind a bit and chew through whatever problems I encountered during my writing session.
Neon Clock by Katta Hules.

Neon Clock by Katta Hules.

  • Take a day off. This works best if, like me, you’re a creature of habit and after a day off, are ready to get back on the writing wagon. I find skipping a day can help recharge my batteries if I’m blocked and help lower my stress level when I’m crazy busy. I try to keep my non-writing days down to one a week because that makes them more relaxing and it keeps me from falling out of my daily writing patterns.
  • Reserve a certain days for writing. These tend to be my days off, especially when I’m home alone and free from distracting presences. This is when I hit the Pomodoro hard and do housework in between to keep myself fresh and my back from committing mutiny. Guaranteeing yourself these days, if you can, is fantastic when you have a heavy workload and daily writing might be just too much. It means, although you might not touch the work you love everyday, you know that some progress will be made every week. Since these are usually my days off, I try to only work a half day so I can recharge by relaxing in the evening.

Keeping up your craft is important, even if you can’t do it every day. Just staying in the habit of writing will help you produce more and improve your skills. If you love it, it’s worth carving out the time to keep it up.

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