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No Time to Write? Here's Some First Aid...

Very soon now, my new FREE book Your Biggest Challenge as a Writer - and What To Do About It will be released, containing radical new advice about how to establish yourself as a writer for real. Here's part of it for those of you struggling to find more time to write:

In my course How to Write Stories That Work - and Get Them Published, I argue that the central reason why you’re not being a writer right now is that you don’t place enough importance on it, and that’s true. But that alone, as a statement, doesn’t quite give you the whole picture.

The reason why you’re not placing enough importance on writing - given that your heart burns to write - is that you are giving importance to other things.

Those ‘other things’ fall into two categories: those things which you distract yourself with when you know better; and those things which Life forces upon you, like family obligations and the need for food and shelter, which you can’t quickly rearrange.

This checklist is based on material in my course and will help you to clarify which activity is which and what importance they take in your life.

Rank the following things in order of importance, where 10 is Vitally Important and 1 is Not That Significant At All. Be as honest as you can, and actually look at how you do spend your time rather than imagining how it is spent. For example, you might want to answer ‘1’ to the item ‘Time spent watching television’ below, but on actual examination you might discover that you’re spending more hours doing so than writing.


Your job (or source or income)

Your romantic relationship(s)

Your family (including your parents)

Your sleeping patterns

Your existing daily and weekly routines

Your hobbies

Your other commitments (religious, educational, sporting etc)

Your bills

Any other demand on your life and time

Time spent on social media

Time spent watching television

Time spent engaged in activities which might be described as ‘idle’

Your writing life

There may be other things too, not covered by this list.

You’ll see by your own ranking that other things are probably taking precedence over your writing life. That’s understandable and ‘normal’, but unless something changes, you probably won’t get enough writing done to move forward.

So what steps can you take on an immediate basis to move from Level 2 on the Ladder to Success to Level 3, ‘Islands of Time’?

Here they are, taken from my course How to Write Stories That Work - and Get Them Published:

1. Timetable yourself into the writing chair.

This sounds obvious, but almost all the wannabe writers I’ve ever spoken to have the same problem: they are expecting Life to somehow open up a window of a few weeks so that they can ‘write the book they want to write’.

Life doesn’t usually respond on its own.

And so the wannabes get trampled into apathy by the demands of the world around them, their families, their jobs, their lives, as above.

2. Expand on that timetable.

Examine your daily and weekly commitments; work out at least 3 hours a week, preferably contiguous but not vitally so, and block that out for writing. Nothing else - just writing your fiction. Don’t include ‘checking emails’ or ‘answering letters’ or even ‘making notes’. Just the actual task of writing.

3. Get everyone’s agreement.

Easier said than done, but unless you do, your little timetable won’t be worth the screen it’s probably written on.

Interruptions are your prime enemy at this point, so work out who is interrupting you the most and get their agreement not to do so, at least at certain times.

4. Expand slightly more on your writing timetable.

Ideally, pick times that are interruption-free, or at least when you are less likely to be in demand.

It’s possible to construct a schedule so that you are writing in the early hours of the morning - or even through the night, as long as you get sleep some other time. I once wrote a 300,000 word epic fantasy in three months, by locking myself in an office, working flat-out between 2:00 am and 7:00 am and going home as the sun rose.