All of us put it off. At least sometimes. I don’t really think it’s easy for 95% of us to just sit down and write when we should. And most of us know that.
So what do I do to make sure I write when I should? HAH! The same thing you do…wish I was better at making myself write, and then every once in a while I overcome my inertia and write a little, and then tell myself, “That felt good, self! You oughta do that more often!” And then I get distracted by the world and forget my good intentions. Again.
Then I run across an article somebody wrote to give all of us a good kick in the pants so we’ll realize what we’re doing and get back to business. So here I am, being your kick in the pants by sharing this article that gave me a kick in the pants.
A lot of people know about Kirkus Reviews…they charge you an extremely large (from my frugal point of view) fee to read your book and write a really good review (that doesn’t necessarily mean favorable) so you can post it hither and yon to help market your book. Some people get really good results, and some not so good, but that’s not the point right now. What a lot of people don’t know about Kirkus Reviews is that they also have a lot of handy stuff on their website, with helpful stuff about writing and publishing and marketing. It’s worth taking a gander now and then to see what you can run across.
I signed up for their email newsletter and sometimes I get some good, meaty articles that discuss my bad habits enough to get me to chastise myself, and sometimes that’s enough to get me to make progress. So here’s one by Hannah Guy, and I’ll let her do the pants-kicking from here on out. Pay attention. She’s talking about you.
With tons of writers fresh off National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and others inspired by the promise of the new year, it’s a great time to tackle a new project—or continue working on your current one. But there are still a few folks putting their breaks on.
How many of us want to dive into something like NaNoWriMo but never manage to get into it? And what about the other eleven months of the year?
Chances are, there’s a good reason you’re not writing the book you want to write—or at least you’re telling yourself it’s a good reason. Time for some straight talk: Enough procrastination, friends. Here’s how to get to work.
“I’m too busy.”
Of all the complaints writers have, time is often their biggest challenge. For those authors fortunate enough to make books their career, it’s less of a problem (and they’re usually the first to admit how fortunate they are). However, the rest of us are not so lucky. Families, full-time jobs, freelancing, personal disasters, commitments, volunteer work, and even illness all conspire to eat up most of our days. Then you add in necessary details like food, sleep, hygiene, occasional visits with friends and family, laundry, chores, traffic—well, you get the point.
So how do you find time to write your book? Well, the answer is deceptively easy-sounding: you make the time. We know, we know. Easier said than done. But truly, you can. They key is prioritizing it. Here are a few ways to make room in your life for your book:
- Take a vacation or even a weekend, and make it a solo writing retreat—either at home, at a cottage, or somewhere inspirational.
- Schedule some writing time during the quietest part of your day, such as the early, early morning, or late at night.
- “Steal” minutes from other activities—like waiting in doctors’ offices, standing in endless checkout lines, sitting on the sidelines during your children’s extracurriculars, or lunchtime at the office—by carrying a notepad or tablet computer with you.
- Make a weekly writing date with yourself. If you can’t trust your family to give you the peace and quiet you need, run for the blissful quiet of a library or small coffee shop.
- Ask your family for help. Delegate household tasks and duties to other members, and ask them for suggestions on where they can help you make time. Writers who work from home full-time often use “signals” to indicate that they are writing and are not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. Headphones, “working pants,” or even a simple “Leave Me Alone, I’m Writing” sign can let your spouse, children, and/or parents know you are working.
- Choose an accountability partner. Find someone who is facing the same struggle, and hold each other accountable with weekly word count goals, added incentives, and little rewards.