I know how hard it is to find the time to write. As authors, we know we need to practice our writing habit in order to produce content that we can sell and to become BETTER writers.
Carving time out of our day, however, is tough. Life gets in the way.
One of my biggest challenges as a new author is balancing learning with writing. There is an unbelievable amount to learn within the world of self-publishing, my brain is on constant overload. When combined with my habit of consistently writing daily, there goes a large chunk of my day.
Here are my favorite time management tips for writers who struggle to find time to write:
Wake up before everyone else.
I don’t consider myself a morning person, but this is now the best way for me to get uninterrupted time to focus on writing. By doing this, I’m guaranteed that I’ll add to my word count each day.
Can you wake up even just 30 minutes earlier each day to do nothing but write? You’ll be amazed at how this adds up over time.
Manage your time in chunks.
I find the most efficient way to move my various writing projects forward is to section off my time in manageable chunks. I block off one hour for writing my new book, another hour for editing, and 30 minutes for social media updates.
Studies show we lose efficiency when switching tasks. So chunking is a better way of working with focus. It also helps to close Facebook, Twitter, etc. and move your phone where you can’t see notifications.
Be picky about content.
Since I started writing daily, the time I have for emails, reading, and watching TV has decreased dramatically. I try to process my email in chunks and I’ll set a timer so I don’t spend too long. Conduct a scrub where you opt out of unread newsletters every few weeks.
I love series such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. There are shows I’ll watch religiously, but I can’t take in every show recommended to me. I’m pickier now and won’t watch something new unless at least four people tell me it’s a must-see.
Same goes for reading. I keep a running list of book recommendations and if I hear a book mentioned several times, I’m in. I no longer read non-fiction cover to cover and will stop early into a book if it’s not resonating.
Do two tasks at once.
I’m avoiding the term multitasking because honestly, we’re just not good at it. What I advocate is doing two separate tasks at once that require different levels of attention.
For example, house cleaning is mindless, so I listen to my favorite weekly podcasts while dusting or cleaning the floors. Dictation for writers is all the rage lately. Use a dictation app on your phone to write while you walk outside or on a treadmill.
Spend time commuting in your car to your day job? Use that time more wisely by dictating your book. Ted Roach talks about how he used dictation on his work commute to go from 500 words to 6,000 per day in his new book, Book Launch Marketing.
Go easy on yourself.
I’m guilty of putting pressure on myself to produce a lot of content. I find myself setting big ambitious goals for myself. However, I’ve come to realize that I’m an author who’s in this for the long haul. It’s not about one or two books; it’s about building a catalog of books that I’m proud of and finding readers over time. I’m prepared for years upon years of writing and getting better and continually learning.
I continue to set goals for writing books but I’m learning to be kinder to myself (and more realistic). While I love writing and want to grow my author business, I also want to live a full life that includes my family, friends, and other creative outlets.
I hope my tips are helpful if you’re struggling to find time to write. What time-saving tips do you use?