Friday, 7 January 2011

Five on Friday: Finding the Time...

I've had some great emails this week with readers and aspiring writers and one question that seems to come up a lot is the 'how do you find the time' one - and yes, it seems really pertinent at the moment for me when we're on our long summer school holidays and I have the four children home all day, a husband working six days a week and a book that needs serious revision... panic stations really.

But where there's a will there's a way - and I do think that if you want something badly enough, you'll find the time somehow. Here are my five biggest tips for finding the time to write around family/work and other obligations:

  1. Kill your television. If you've a day job/family, then the sit-back-and-relax hours in the evening are not for blobbing in front of telly, they're for tapping on your computer. 
  2. Kill your internet connection. Surfing is my biggest problem procrastination wise. There's a great application called Freedom which you set for a period of time and it kills the connection for you. I'm sure there are PC equivalents. Or just unplug your modem.
  3. Create a routine. If you can manage it, set aside the same time each day to write and try not to miss a day. EVERY day is the way. After a month it’ll be a habit and you’ll feel bad if you don’t do it. Often the best time for working in this way is early in the morning – get up at 5:30 and you can easily fit in one and a half to two hours good writing time. You just have to go to bed a bit earlier I guess! But you feel really ‘virtuous’ for the rest of the day because you’ve already got your stint in and sometimes it can be really hard to sit down and write having spent a full day at work already.
  4. Spend time THINKING. When you're pressed for time, make the most of the moments you do have to dwell on plot problems/twists/conflict issues. Stacking the dishwasher is a great time for me, as is driving etc. Just set your mind a problem to think on. Showers provide brilliant thinking time as do those delicious moments just before you fall asleep.
  5. Just do it. Put it at the top of the to-do list for the day. Prioritise it - let your friends and family know it's important to you and that you need their support. Make a deal with the kids - an hour quiet time for them and if they DON'T interrupt you, you'll take them to the pool after... (headphones work well for this too so you can be 'present' in the corner tapping on the sofa while they play on the floor...)
So there you go - harding reinventing the wheel there, but they're oft-repeated tips for a reason: they work.

Meanwhile, I'm off to take my own advice, get off the internet and get to writing!!!


Jackie Ashenden said...

Happy writing! Finished your book BTW. And I blame you entirely for keeping me up till 1am! Grrr. Awesome read, and Jack....yummo. Loved Kelsi too. I have a female computer game developer that I want to let out to play at some stage. Argh too many ideas! :-)

Oh and I'm so with you on the showers. They are fabulous for thinking. Must be all the negative ions...

Natalie Anderson said...

Oh thanks Jackie - thrilled you enjoyed it. Your programmer sounds cool - you have to let her out to play!!!

Lacey Devlin said...

Great tips Nat!

Nas Dean said...

Thanks for the great tips. I'm enjoying reading "Caught on Camera With The Ceo" at the moment.

"Unbuttoned by Her Maverick Boss" is still sitting on top of my TBR, will be starting next!