So, you’ve had an amazing idea for a book or blog, and you’re ready to get started on it, only you don’t know where you can make the time to write. Now what?
How frustrating it can be for life to get in the way of our writing plans, for our weekends to pass us by without an afternoon of spare time we can invest in our creativity. Or perhaps that free afternoon arrives and you just don’t feel like it. The inspiration to write was whispering in your ear when you were at work, but now you’re at home you just want to relax and enjoy doing nothing. Perhaps you find those few hours you could write in peace, but your pen runs out of ink or the phone rings and before you know it you’re just not in the mood.
I get it, I really do. This used to be me. It often still is. Still waiting for the perfect day, time, atmosphere, temperature, all sorts of qualifying conditions I tell myself I need before I think about putting pen to paper. But it’s all bullshit. Yeah, I said it.
The reality is this: we make time for whatever and whoever is important to us. If writing a book is important to you, you’ll find the time in your schedule to make it happen. You’ll prioritise it over less urgent tasks because it is vital for you to reach that goal.
Are you the kind of person who talks more about writing than actually writing anything? Are you spending time hyping yourself up rather than building something to be hyped about? Have you spent more time planning your book than actually writing it? It’s time to stop the procrastination, honey. And yes, I know you know what I’m talking about.
We procrastinate when things feel hard. Once you’ve planned your book, part of you is so overwhelmed that you begin to wonder if you can actually manage to pull it off. Before you’ve even started, it feels like a huge mountain to climb and suddenly typing away at your laptop doesn’t seem as fun as it once did. Perhaps your deadlines are ambitious but don’t take into account your daily roles and responsibilities. Or maybe you’re waiting for the “right time” to get started but as it didn’t arrive you’re happy to wait until the following week.
Stop. It. Now.
I get it. Writing is hard, it is, but it doesn’t have to be. Stop hiding from your dreams, your ideas, your goals and the potential greatness you’re flirting with. Stop talking yourself out of a creative venture that you haven’t even tried yet. Stop telling yourself that you can’t do it, that it’s impossible, that it’s hard. Stop telling yourself that it can only happen at 1pm on Saturdays if you’re in a good mood, stop telling yourself that you need to be in a good mood to make it happen. Stop telling yourself that you need all the followers, the likes, the comments, the shares, the social media recognition before you start writing that book. Stop it right now.
Procrastination can creep in through all sorts of cracks, no matter how focused or determined you are. But don’t let it win.
Sometimes the biggest barrier between us and the book we want to write is ourselves. My fifth book should have been published by now. It’s been finished for a while. I have only just sent it to my editor. Why did I leave it so long?
Part of me is worried that it’s terrible and that nobody will read it. Another part of me wonders if it’s good enough at all and if I should have focused on writing my second novel instead. But another part of me needs to acknowledge what an achievement it is to have written a book (again) and allow myself to share it with the world. The idea was mine, sure, but the intention was never to keep it to myself. Isn’t that why we write anyway?
This post isn’t intended to guilt you into writing, but to prompt you to think about where you’re really spending your time. If writing is important to you, whether you’re writing a book or a journal, you will make time for it.
It can be ten minutes every morning before you get out of bed.
It can be ten minutes every evening before you go to sleep.
It can be ten minutes while you wait for your bath to fill.
It can be ten minutes while you wait to see your doctor.
It can be ten minutes while you wait for the dryer to finish its cycle.
It can be ten minutes while your children play in the garden.
It can be ten minutes of your 30-minute bus journey.
Or ten minutes of your lunch break.
Maybe even ten minutes in the morning while you enjoy that first cup of coffee.
You have ten minutes, right? We all do. These moments of opportunity to write often pass us because we’re not looking for them. But I’m encouraging you to seek them out, identify where in your day you have 10 minutes to write and take full advantage of it. And you really don’t need to write a full chapter, nor do you need your notes in order to utilise those 10 minutes.
You can write on a scrap of paper.
You can write using the memo pad on your phone.
You can voice record your ideas.
You can make notes of ideas.
You can brainstorm topics.
You can write poetry.
You can write.
Literally, write what you can and where you can. Although ten minutes a day doesn’t seem like much, those little steps you take will add up. Those few minutes dedicated to your writing will have the creativity pouring out of you. And isn’t that the point?
Try it. Let me know how you get on.
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