It’s not a bad system since it does keep me organized and on task. The bad news is that sometimes the stuff closest to the bottom of that list is the stuff I like the most. Like writing.
Now I don’t have all the answers, and what works for me might not always work for you, but I’ve tried to make my writing more of a priority in my day-to-day life. Sometimes, you need to be creative. Sometimes, you need to be firm with yourself. And sometimes, you just need to give yourself a break.
Here are a few of the strategies I’ve been using to make sure I get enough time to work on my fiction:
- Don’t be afraid to write in short bursts. I used to think I had to clear off hours from my schedule to sit down and write, the “center” myself and get my head into my work. I don’t have that luxury, so I’ve trained myself to type out 500-1000 word bursts when I have a few minutes to myself.
- Embrace technology. Sometimes I can’t get to the laptop to sit down and write. When I learned I could download Dropbox-compatible writing programs on my smartphone and my tablet, I realized I could now add words from anywhere! There's nothing like drafting a paragraph from the doctor's office waiting room.
- Talk it out. Sometimes I think of good ideas when I can’t type, like when I’m washing dishes or driving my daughter to school. With talk-to-text software like Dragon, I can talk out loud without losing any of my ideas or brilliant snippets of dialogue.
- It’s how you look at it… I used to think writing was a chore, so when those pockets of free time came around, I didn’t want to do it. I’ve tried to shift my thinking so that writing is a treat for me, a perfect activity for my downtime. It’s working, and now I find myself looking forward to a good hour-long stretch at the keyboard.
- Take the time. I don’t always have to fold the laundry right away and I don’t always have to unload the dishwasher immediately. Those jobs will be waiting for me after I finish Chapter 4, so sometimes writing can get bumped up a little higher on that list. And I really like when that happens.
It IS possible to have a work-from-home career and take care of the kids, the pets, and the housework. It’s all about balance and finding what works for you. What strategies do you use to get reach your own writing goals every week?