Okay. I’m sure you get the idea. But I felt compelled to lay this out first thing so you’d know I’m not a super organized being who floats to her desk and writes every day, non-stop. Unless you’re a full time writer – which many of us aren’t – you’re probably like me and struggle to fit writing into your everyday schedule. A dear author friend once told me the only way to get my book done was to apply my behind to my chair and my fingers to the keyboard. I knew she was right but, you know, there’s social media and online games and email and laundry and the list goes on and on. So many shiny (and not so shiny) objects to distract us from our calling to put words onto paper.
- Fool the beast with research. There’s always something to look up and verify, right? Especially if you’re writing in the historical genre. Researching feeds the beast’s need for surfing the interwebs and leaves you guilt-free because you’re actually working. Just don’t get so lost in the researching that you forget to do the writing.
- Work when you’re on. Figure out when you’re most productive and take advantage of it, whether it’s two in the morning or eight at night. I’m a morning person who works best between six and ten, so I block out a good portion of that time to work on my story. Whether I’m outlining or drafting my next chapter, I feel better because I’ve accomplished something and I’m that much closer to typing The End. When I do this consistently, I find the gremlins who whisper their nagging, “You should be writing,” in my ear are appeased.
- Let other things go. It might be obvious but really, the laundry will wait and the dust bunnies will still be there. You’ll have to feed the cats or other four-leggeds, of course, but let everyone else fend for themselves. I speak from experience when I say the world will not fall apart if you remove yourself from it for a bit. When I first started writing seriously, I had two young children, a husband, and worked a full time job. I carved out time on the weekends to hide in the basement and craft my stories. Everyone survived and I like to think I was better at the other life stuff because I took time out to pursue my dream.
- To Do Lists. Before you sit down to write, make a list of everything on your mind at the moment which needs doing – writing and non-writing. When you’re not preoccupied with making sure you remember to go to the bank or drop in that one red herring, your brain is freed for the creative process and you’ll be more productive.
Dedicate a space to your craft. This is essential. Having a dedicated space tells your subconscious you’re serious about writing. And, when you’re feeling serious about your calling, you’re more likely to honor the time you’ve set aside to work on your story. Having your own area also leaves you more time to write because you’re not burdened with getting all your notes, drafts, etc. out when you sit down. This option comes with a warning, though. It’s easy to become lost in getting your area ‘just right.’ Start with the basics and let it evolve as you do, otherwise it can become one of those shiny points of procrastination.
- Prioritize. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have plenty of time, it’s more an issue of how we choose to spend it. Writing has to become a priority if you want to make it in this business. The old adage, “Writers Write,” is a true one.
So, turn off the TV, silence your phone, close your email. Feed the Beast of Shiny Objects with things relative to your story. Take a deep breath and put self-doubt aside (this is one of those reasons we procrastinate no one really wants to talk about). Decide that you are, indeed, a writer and get to work. You got this. And the world will be a better place because you created the time to tell your story.
Teri Barnett writes historical, paranormal, and time travel romance. You can purchase her books Through the Mists of Time, Shadow Dreams, and Pagan Fire at Lachesis Publishing. or you can purchase Teri’s books on amazon, and Barnes and Noble.