Where does the time go? Suddenly it's pitch black outside, your spouse has gone to bed and you're working by the glow of a laptop screen. Time, our most precious resource remains stubbornly uncooperative when it comes to giving us more than 24 hours in a day.
Modern writers must juggle the complexities of constant marketing, plus get the next book written. We must be tech savvy to stay visible and sell books, which takes time. The most notable time sucker is social media. Our author platform constantly begs for pithy updates, new photos, retweets for fellow authors, etc.
Unless you have an agent who's arranging events for you, time is needed to set up appearances, write press releases, and check out writers conferences.
Then there's the day job. I would hazard a guess that many of us are still working an outside job that pays the bills while building the writing business. Family responsibilities, exercising, volunteering ... so when do you find the time to actually write? Personally, empty nest has been an excellent season of life for writing. During the hectic days of kids, school, job, church and library trustee responsibilities, there was absolutely no time to write. I couldn't make it a priority even though I made several stabs at it. Waiting I've found was actually a good thing. Now writing can be a priority without tearing my hair out. Not as many outside commitments help as you might expect. Life experiences and writing magazine articles before tackling novels benefited me too. A simpler lifestyle cleared the way. Here are some other ideas to consider if you're struggling to find the time.
1. Keep a schedule. Whatever format you use, make appointments to write, update social media, exercise, etc. Write it down and get serious about keeping these appointments. Maybe writing is at 5:30am to 6:30am before the family is awake or maybe it's from 7:30pm-8:30pm while the kids are watching TV or working on homework. Your schedule needs to be reasonable and flexible because life happens.
2. Use timesaving tools when it comes to social media. I use the free version of Hootsuite to post to Face Book, Twitter, and Google Plus. Within 20-30 minutes I can create two or three days worth of tweets or posts. Spend NO MORE than 15-20 minutes on Face Book or Twitter to catch up. If you don't, an hour flies by while you peruse the newsfeeds.
3. Limit TV viewing if you really want to get 5,000 words written. Once you're seated in front of the big screen, it may lure you to stay for hours.
4. Schedule down time. We all need a break--times to refresh. Rest is healthy and it restores creativity. Get outside, have lunch with friends, walk away from the computer to visit the real world. It is where we get our ideas. Staying healthy and de-stressing only benefits us and our families. The computer is addicting whether it's social media or writing. Make sure down time is on your calendar every week.
5. Make the most of waiting. Stuck in the doctor's waiting room? Waiting for one of the kids in the school parking lot? A small notebook tucked in a purse is a wonderful friend. Make notes about your plot or characters. Outline a blog post, compose some tweets, write down a few impressions about waiting.
6. The Fun Factor.The biggest indicator that being a writer is for me is that I'm having fun. If writing creates more stress than fun, reevaluate whether the timing is right. After all, timing is everything.
With over 30 years in administration as a manager, paralegal, and administrative professional, my experience runs the gamut from finances, policy, contracts, and human resources. My goal is to help writers navigate the business side of writing with understandable and practical advice.