Do you sometimes find yourself saying this: “I really want to write but I just don’t have the time?” I do, but how can I be sure there actually is “no time”? There is at least time enough for me to get stressed out about there not being enough time to write.
Of course there are life situations that rule out any chance of writing…like if you’re in a coma, for instance. If , however, you are fortunate enough to be conscious and alert, you could consider ways of slipping a little writing into your day even when your calendar looks impenetrable. Here are three ideas to consider.
1)Teach yourself to write in brief increments, like ten minutes. And before you start telling me that you would be totally unable really get into the swing of writing in such a brief time slot, keep in mind that your convictions on this issue may not be absolutely accurate. You can learn the skill of doing this if you choose to. I know of some very productive academic writers who write in the cracks of their day – between classes, waiting for meetings to begin, during boring meetings, during lunch, and right before going home. Ten or fifteen minutes at a time.
It is a matter of using those little gaps in the day, and not let them slip away through daydreaming, chatting or surfing the internet. If you keep up a daily practice of this kind of micro-writing, your projects will stay current on your mind, and you will be better able to deftly shift in and out of writing mode during the day.
2) Get up a half hour earlier than usual. This is tricky territory (messing with a sleep/wake schedule) but mornings are a good time to write because it’s quiet, and you’re not yet distracted by all your responsibilities. And if you do write early, you get it done for the day and you don’t have to worry about writing the rest of the day. Your body may fight you on implementing a change like this, but if you get to bed a little earlier, it is doable. Caution: don’t try to dramatically revise your sleeping patterns. I had a student who tried to shift from 7 hours to 4 hours a night so he could write his novel, and this regimen lasted two agonizing days.
3) Spend a bit less time on other tasks. In academia, for instance, this may mean doing a less than perfect job with teaching-related duties. This is not easy for those who have high standards, but if your writing is being neglected, you could consider doing a 89% great job with teaching rather than an 99% great job. This will allow you a bit of writing time you didn’t think you had, and may be well worth it, especially if your academic future depends on your publication record.
As a writer, you can prove that Einstein was right about the passage of time being relative to one’s point of view. Stretch it out and fill it up with a words.