The difference between finding time for your writing and making time for your writing is that when you are just finding time, you are looking for gaps between already existing other activities. Those activities can include your job, your family, your social life and so forth. You simply set about squeezing your writing time into the cracks between those things.
Making time, means that you rearrange or even get rid of some of those other things in order to write.
I know I tread on hallowed ground by questioning whether or not your writing is really that important to you if you are still concentrating on finding time rather than making time.
Horrible though it may seem, at the end of the day, the central reason why you’re not being a writer right now is that you don’t place enough importance on it. Yes, it’s true, don’t scream at me: the fact is that, though your soul burns to write, though you would give up your day job in a nano-second to write, though you feel that ‘writer’ is inscribed in chromosomes upon your every cell, the reason that you’re reading this sentence is that you haven’t yet placed enough importance upon being a writer to actually do something about it.
Rank the following things in order of importance in your life:
Your job (or source or income)
Your romantic relationship(s)
Your family (including your parents)
Your current lifestyle (sleeping patterns, basic routines, hobbies, how you spend leisure time and so forth)
Your other commitments (religious, educational, sporting etc)
Any other demand on your life and time
There may be other things too, not covered by this list.
You’ll see by your own ranking that other things are taking precedence over your writing life. That’s understandable and ‘normal’, but unless something changes, you simply won’t get any writing done.
Here’s the thing: an average novel contains about 80,000 words. (A fantasy or science fiction epic is usually much larger.) Even typing at 1,000 words per hour, which is reasonably quick, it will take you 80 hours to type a first draft with no editing or revision along the way. If you can eke out ten hours a week, that’s 8 weeks, which might not seem like very long.
a) can you really get ten hours a week devoted purely to typing out a manuscript? That is excluding any ‘pre-production’ planning or outlining.
b) that’s just your first draft.
Let’s say you spend 80 hours miraculously typing your first draft to completion. (There are some tips about how to do that, by the way, shortly.) Then you need to edit it. Writing a first draft is like going shopping to the supermarket and buying the week’s groceries. You come home with bags of stuff. Now you have to turn it into meals. Editing is where you turn your first draft into something readable. That can take longer than initially writing it, but if you know what you’re doing (and you’ll have a much better idea of that by the time you complete this course) then it can take less time.
Let’s say another 80 hours for a second draft, though, to be on the safe side.
Then the best idea is to leave it for a while before writing a third draft, refining the work still further. Let’s allow 40 hours for that.
Preparing a manuscript for publication, as an independent writer, can be a tiresome and frustrating task, but this course will help smooth that out. Allow 10 hours for it, though.
The publication process itself is relatively simple, following the step-by-step guide that comes later in the How to Write Stories That Work -and Get Them Published! e-course. You can usually get to the stage of ordering your first proof copy in under an hour.
Once your proof copy arrives, the course shows you what to look for and the process of correcting your work can take as little as 3 hours. Then your next copy will be the one you will try to sell, the final version.
That’s 214 hours in total, minimum.
With life and all the things listed above out of the way, that adds up to almost five months at about ten hours a week, if things go very smoothly. Of course, Life won’t leave you alone during this time and its very difficult to stay undistracted long enough to get each step done without any problems.
So to get anywhere at all, you need to value your writing more highly than you do now. There are some exercises to help you with this later in this module.
Valuing your own writing more highly means that you will shift things around and make things happen. Not giving your work the importance that it needs means that things will in all likelihood stay as they are.