The writing dream is easy, but executing it is another story. We all have busy lives, whether we work outside the home or we work from home freelancing or taking care of our children. There are so many responsibilities, errands, and other tasks that deserve our attention. So, in our busy lives, how in the hell can we find time to write?
1—Sacrifice your empty time.
Obviously, you’re going to have to sacrifice your time if you want to find more room in your life to write, but that’s not the kind of time I’m talking about. I’m talking about those spaces of time where we sit around the house waiting to leave for work—or we sit in our cars at lunch playing games on our phone until it’s time to return. Instead of doing that, why not leave 5 or 10 minutes early for work and use that time to write? Before I became a full-time freelancer, this is exactly how I got things done. I used Google Docs or Word Online to continue writing on whatever my current project was. While it may not give you a huge daily word count, any amount of work you do on your writing pushes you forward to the end.
2—Personal Facebook time, sports, and TV are not as important as we think they are.
I am a pretty prolific blogger because I’m very focused on my end goal, and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of those empty activities to keep improving on my strategy and on my writing skills. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t take the time to relax and enjoy the things I love every once in a while. If I’m spending three hours watching TV or scrolling through Facebook every day, I don’t personally feel it’s asking too much of myself to cut that down to one or two hours per day. Start by cutting out 30 minutes a day, then eventually cut out an hour per day. You can be pretty productive if you can dedicate at least one hour per day to your writing schedule.
3—You don’t really need to go out with your friends EVERY night.
I know I’m going to hurt somebody here, but it’s true. If both writing and your friendships are important to you, you’re going to need to sacrifice something. If you opt to stay in one weekend night to write, your friends will not abandon you; they will understand how important your goals are to you.
4—What about waking up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do?
I’m not saying that you need to stay up 24 hours per day to be a writer, but surely you can find some days you’ll be able to work in some extra writing time by staying up later or waking up earlier. Some entrepreneurs take extreme measures by only sleeping three hours a day, but that’s a ridiculous ask if you don’t want to go all-in to build your writing career. Don’t deprive yourself of sleep, but look for opportunities once in a while to do more.
These are all really easy sacrifices you can make in moderation without damaging the quality of your life. To get a clear picture of where you can easily sacrifice time or activities, I recommend keeping a journal for one week:
- Be specific and extremely detailed.
- Write down what time you wake up and what time you go to bed. (You can also keep track of how well-rested you feel every morning.)
- Account for everything you do between those two times.
- Be specific about what books you’re reading, what shows you’re watching, and what you’re doing when you socialize.
- Keep track of how much time each activity takes.
- Write down who you spend time with when you’re socializing. (You can also go a step further and summarize what you and your friends talked about.)
- If you’re spending money, keep track of that as well.
- Write down why you feel that activity was important and how it made you feel.
At the end of the week, analyze your journal to find things you can sacrifice in the beginning:
- Sacrifice anything that makes you feel bad or negative.
- If something made you spend way too much money, sacrifice that if it’s a reasonable ask.
- If you’re spending more than two or three hours scrolling through Facebook or watching TV, sacrifice 30 minutes to an hour.
- Do you have extra time at lunch or before work? Use that time to write.
It all comes down to setting your priorities. If writing is a priority, you will find time for it, even if you feel like there’s absolutely no time to write. After taking a critical look at where you do spend your time and how each activity benefits or hurts you, you’ll be less challenged to move forward.