Finding Time To Write Hard? Give These A Go
It can be the hardest thing after a long day to find the time to sit down and write—I feel you, I do. There have been so many evenings where I’ve told myself I’m going to write, and then find myself logged into the PlayStation or The Sims.
Motivation can be the hardest thing to find after a pretty awful day or even just a day where you aren't yourself. But, when you are already feeling low, Miss Guilt shows up to remind you that you've not hit your word goal or even wanted to write.
So, here I bring you my greatest tips to trick your brain that writing is going to be so much more enjoyable than your mind thinks, allowing you to live without Miss Guilt giving you any more hassle.
1. Create A Playlist
Creating a book/writing inspired playlist to listen to on the way home, from picking up the children or anything else. Listening to songs that set the music to your work can get your brain fired up and ready to create. It's inviting that space into your day, reminding yourself why you wanted to begin the project to begin with. Especially if your brain already associates the music with whatever you’re currently creating.
I have an entire playlist for my book, so when I hear one of the tracks, my mind instantly jumps back to it and the characters I’ve created. It’s a good way to get the brain juices flowing. It’s also a good way of taking yourself to the same space you were in when you are creative; for example, I have a song that instantly makes me want to clean. And, I hate cleaning, but the song tricks me into thinking 'I must do this'.
There are also some songs that transport me to other times in my life, and you may find that too, so creating a playlist of your project can help, and give your mind a little pull in the right direction.
2. Blocking Out Time
I’ve mentioned this in a prior post, but making time for writing like it’s a class or a part-time job can help keep your mind ready to do something.
For example, I hate exercising, but I’ve loved going to Yoga and Pilates recently. But even when I’m sore, I try to tell myself I can take a break, but I find that I don’t want to. Not because it will 'be so worth it' but because I’ve booked on and the time is set out in my diary. It's a simple thing that works for me, and may work for you; there is also no time for excuses when you have planned your life around doing so.
Setting our time in your diary can make you more proactive, and more accountable.
Obviously, this can't work for everyone, but do what you can. Even small amounts of time is better than none, just like writing a sentence is better than none.
3. Pinterest Boards
For those of you that aren’t motivated by music, your girl has your back.
Creating a board on Pinterest dedicated to inspiring photos that remind you of whatever you’re creating can spark ideas visually, and then make it easier for you to put fingers to keyboards—or pen to paper. Sometimes, to gain ideas, we just need to kickstart and let the creative side of us flow—which can often be muted in the day-to-day struggles.
Seeing everything laid out can really pull your brain into the same space you were in when you pinned it, so I suggest making your board following a good chapter or a good word amount one day. It's also a visual reminder of places, people or objects that inspired the project, to begin with, and sometimes that's all you need, just one reminder, and it can kick start a writing session.
4. Create Prompts
If you have a deadline and you can’t motivate yourself to write it, or you know you need to write the next chapter, and your brain just can’t get there, then flip what you’re writing.
I’m a ‘write-out-of-order’ author, so sometimes I begin writing my story from the end to the beginning, or even somewhere in the middle. But, often or not, we don’t want to write what comes next because it isn’t exciting—but is necessary. Writing the exciting part, with the knowledge that you need to go back usually means you write the bit you desperately want to, but convince yourself to then write the bit you didn‘t.
If that doesn’t get the cogs turning, maybe write a short story from the world you’re creating or a backstory that won’t be a part of the main story, just to gain some more knowledge of your characters. Or, just write something for fun. I know a friend did this and she felt like she knew her world so much better for it, so even if you don't feel it adds much to your 'word count goal', it can massively improve your knowledge of what you're creating.
5. Quote Prep/ Plan
I may be the only one who does this, but when I write my 'plot-plan' out, I tend to add a lot of quotes into it—hearing what the characters say but maybe not knowing what the scene looks like. There are a thousand plots of mine that have whole scenes of quotes with nothing else because, at the time, it's sometimes what began the entire piece. When all else fails, I read this, I go over it, and just edit and add things. Sometimes, I can have 500 words written because one part of the plan just suddenly screams at me, because the characters just grab me.
Give it a go, see how things go, sometimes they can surprise you.
If you don't have a plot-plan, find one that works for you. There is no right or wrong answer, and Pinterest has a number of things you can do to get planning, and I've popped some here
Some Other Ideas:
Writing freehand (this does work for me, but I get a painful wrist).
Meditate (blocking all the other noises and listening to your creative voice instead).
Reading (I know this seems odd but sometimes reading something else just sparks the creative juices. I'm not pretending to know I understand my brain).
So, there you go. If I find any more out, I'll pop on over and add them, but I do hope some of these tips have helped you out!
Do remember though, when life is really busy, it is really hard to listen to yourself and let your creative juice flow. You are not doing anything wrong if your life is loud right now and things aren't flowing, it's just not your time.
So often, we beat ourselves up for not achieving a goal we set ourselves, but at least we aimed for it, and that's sometimes what we need to focus on.
But if any of these jumped out at you, and you gave them a go, please let me know.
Also, if you have any of your own tips, drop them below for those who check in here.