Too Little time

Question: I really want to be a published writer, but schoolwork and family time take up a lot of my time. What can I do to find more time to write?

Answer: Yours is a very common problem. The dream of most writers is to have the time to write the things they want to write. Usually the challenge is how to pay the bills while you're writing, but being in school can be as equally demanding as a full-time job.

Obviously, the plain truth is that you do need to make the time.

There are things in life that are both important and urgent (which you must do). And there are things that are unimportant and not urgent (which you should not waste time on).

There are also things that are important but not urgent. This category is what most people's dreams fall into, such as your dream of being a writer. Because they aren't urgent, these things often get postponed, and postponed, and postponed.

Finally, there are things that may be urgent, but are unimportant. Most people spend too much time on these things, while important things are left undone.

My point: you must make room in your life for things that are important, even if they are long-term, non-urgent goals. That may mean letting go of things that feel urgent but are unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Some people find it works to set aside anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour a day for writing. For others, one day or one evening a week works best. Some people get up an hour earlier than the rest of the household and use that time. Others are nightowls who stay up an hour later (but don't lose out on the sleep you need to stay healthy). Others grab half an hour at lunch each day, or they write on the bus or subway. You have to find some space in your weekly calendar that works for you. It's there if you look.

The key is that, however much time you have, you must not let it be violated. You must use that time for writing and not let anything intrude upon it. Turn your phone off. Disconnect from the internet. Lock the door. The world can wait until your writing session ends.

If you write only one page a day, or seven pages a week (or even two-thirds that much), in a year you may have a book. If that seems like too much, start by writing one short story a month.

Make your goals reasonable. Don't make them so big that stressing over them becomes paralyzing. Don't make them so big that you always miss the target and then feel guilty. Make them small and doable, so that you can reach them most of the time. You want to build up a series of successes for yourself, so that you feel good about your achievements, so you look forward to each writing session. Then, a year from now, you can look back on the progress you've made.

That's all there is to it, really. Finding the time isn't hard. The hard part is developing the discipline.

Best of luck.

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