Especially for us college students, and really, anyone who has any kind of job or activity that keeps them busy during the day, finding enough time to write and work on your book can seem like an impossible task. That’s why today, I decided to put together a little guide on the best ways to fit writing time into your day, even when you feel like you have no time at all to work! All of these tips are easy and simple, and can apply to pretty much anyone in any walk of life, so scroll down and check them out!
WAKE UP 20 MINUTES EARLY (OR STAY UP 20 MINUTES LATER)
Yes, this might seem like amateur advice, but forcing yourself to get up earlier, even 10 or 20 minutes earlier, can be a huge improvement on the day’s productivity. When we live busy lives filled to the brim with studying, work, or family and children, finding the time to write during the morning seems like a horrible idea. But try it! Just once, set your alarm for 20 minutes earlier, and don’t even get ready before pulling open your computer and writing until a timer goes off. You’ll be happily surprised to find that the time right after you wake up can be some of the most creative you’ll have all day.
Or, if you’re like me and the idea of getting up any earlier than absolutely necessary makes you want nauseous, try setting an alarm twenty minutes before you’re supposed to get ready for bed and use that time solely for writing. Don’t let yourself get distracted by notifications or TVs in the background, just write. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to accomplish.
USE YOUR COMMUTE TIME WISELY
As a New Yorker (and for right now, a Londoner), using time spent on the bus or train for writing can be a huge relief to me at the end of the day. Last year, I nannied for a family down in Park Slope, and when I came back at night on the subway, the train ran for about 25 minutes, and after about two months, I’d gotten more written than I had through most of the rest of that year.
If you drive to work, you can also try using Speak-To-Text programs for hands-free writing. Obviously, you want to stay safe and be focused on the road, so I wouldn’t worry about getting syntax or full sentences out too much. When I use this technique, I normally spend a few minutes that night after I get home editing and making sense of whatever spews out of my mouth at 7am before I’ve completely downed my Starbucks coffee on the way to work. But it’s definitely a good place to start!
MAKE AN HOURLY SCHEDULE OF YOUR FREE TIME
If you can, try taking a day or two and scheduling out, hour by hour, of your day. Mark down how long it takes to get to class, how long you spend studying, how long you spend eating, etc. When you’re done blocking in all the time that you can’t shift, take a look at the free space you have and start plugging in ten minutes here or ten minutes there to do a quick writing sprint a few times a day. I started doing this a year or two ago, and it’s been an immense help in keeping a writing schedule, even during my busy nightmare parts of the school year. I don’t do it all the time, but when I do, I notice how much more gets done.
PRIORITIZE YOUR ACTIVITIES
One of the most important things you can do for your writing (especially when you’re super busy) is priorotize it and make it important enough to spend time on. Sure, I can spend the night binging on Netflix and catching up on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time rather than write (and I’ve totally done this, no shame), but it’s not the ideal situation for the busy writer. Mentally make your writing something important, something worth your time, even if technically no one will be reading it for a while. Pretend that you have deadlines for an imaginary agent (or if you have an agent, stick to those deadlines!) and put a little fire under your feet to get your work done. If you use these little tips to hold yourself accountable, it’ll be much easier to get stuff done, even when you’re busy beyond belief.