Happy Friday! Those of you who know me, have heard me say several times, “If something is important to you, you make time for it.” For years my writing schedule was horrific! Non existent if I were being truthful. More than anything I wanted to be a published author, but I didn’t know how to discipline myself so I could accomplish my dream. I needed help. I first heard the words I say all the time now in an online writing class called Time to Write. Those words (and of course the class content) resonated with me and helped catapult my writing career from hopeful writer to published author. Today, I excited beyond belief to have the lovely Kelly L. Stone as my guest. Please give her a warm welcome and read all about her and her books. You won’t regret it!
Oh, a random commenter will receive a 10 page critique (any genre) from Kelly! How great is that?
The Gift of Writing Time
© Kelly L Stone
Time to write. Everyone wants it. But who has it?
Time to write is something you make. You make it by scheduling it. Whether your goal is to get published or simply to write for the enjoyment of self-expression, making time to write is a discipline you must devote yourself to; no one can do it for you. It’s a commitment to writing that you and only you can make.
So let’s talk about how you make time to write even with your crazy busy life. The first step is honoring your voice. If you want to get those words on paper you have to believe that writing—your writing– is important. You have to value your story and what you’re creating, because if you don’t value it, who will? Honor what you have to say enough to give it room in your life. No one can tell your story the way you can, and we can’t read your mind. You have to put your words on paper where we can see them.
The next step to finding time to write is scheduling it into your day. People tend to gasp in shock when I point this out. But you have a schedule for everything else, why not writing? I bet you can tell me the next time your child is scheduled to get her teeth cleaned, or the next time your car is due for an oil change. Can you tell me the next time you plan to write? If not, set a day and time now. It doesn’t matter if it’s once a day or once a week. Just pick a schedule and stick to it, because if you don’t schedule writing into your life, you’re choosing to allow distractions to overtake you.
Next set a small goal for your writing time. It might be to write three pages or to record your memories of the holidays just passed for 20 minutes. Planning your work ensures that you don’t sit at the computer twiddling your thumbs (or “doing research”). No indeed, you have an assignment to complete, and you can’t get up until you’ve done it. Set an egg timer if you must, but sit down for a designated length of time and write.
Then hold yourself accountable to your schedule by keeping a record of how many times you fulfilled it. Many writers keep a spreadsheet that includes the date and the number of pages they wrote at each session. One writer told me she put a quarter in a jar every time she met her writing goal for the day, and when she finished a project she had money to buy herself a nice gift.
Which leads to the last tip on finding time to write: reward yourself every time you write. Every single time. This is called positive reinforcement, and it’s how you build the habit of writing. It can be a piece of chocolate, watching an hour of television, taking a nap, or yes, even doing the laundry. Writing is hard work, and exercising self-discipline is even harder. Pat yourself on the back.
Honor your voice by scheduling writing into your day. Don’t let your dream, and your days, slip away.
BIO: Kelly L. Stone (www.AuthorKellyLStone.com) is the author of a women’s fiction novel, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, 2007) which Romantic Times Book Reviews called “powerful” and “well-written.” She is also the author of the TIME TO WRITE series for writers: TIME TO WRITE: No Excuses, No Distractions, No More Blank Pages (Adams Media, 2008), THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind (Adams Media, 2009) and LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life (Adams Media, 2010). She is a sought after keynote speaker and workshop presenter at writing conferences across the country and offers online classes, critiques, and coaching services to writers. Contact her at Kelly@AuthorKellyLStone.com
I need to remember to make time to write. I keep waiting for it to come to me and it doesn’t.
Eveyln, thanks for stopping by! A schedule is the key! Plan out when you’ll write every Sunday night, then stick to it! If you wait for the time to come around, it won’t!
I loved this! Great tips!
Thanks for stopping by Isabella!
I abide by most of what you said. I do however, give up mundane chores to fit my writing in. I finally realized all that care and time I took to do laundry was totally wasted on my son. He took his clean clothes, threw them on the floor with his dirty clothes and wore whatever was on top. So I do less laundry and write more. And he uses more AXE spray for men. 🙂
🙂 Good for you Carolyn!
I read TIME TO WRITE a few years ago when I decided to get serious about writing… and it definitely helped me go from aspiring writer to author. Thank you for this awesome post, ladies! 🙂
Aw, thanks Cat!! I appreciate it! And thanks for stopping by today!
You have inspired me! I have no discipline and I need to improve on that! I could also spend less time on mundane chores and on sightseeing trips to my old neighborhood in Boston to see the devastation caused by 2 crazies. Thanks for the prodding!
Thanks Janet! Definitely look at what you can cut out and use that time for writing instead!
I definitely agree that you have to make writing a priority and give it the time it deserves, not the leftover time your life allows. I’m with Carolyn… less housework, more writing. I’m never going to say, “I wish I’d done more laundry,” or “I wish I’d dusted and vacuumed more,” but I will definitely say, “I wish I’d written more,” if I don’t write all the stories and characters that are in my head. No regrets.
Brea you are so right!! Thanks for stopping by
I love the idea of putting a quarter in a jar after every writing session. Making a specially decorated jar would be a fun project, too, to fill up the creative well. I have a datebook and find that when I write down my writing tasks, I most often get them done.
Hi Janel! I love the quarter idea! Then you have enough at the end of a book to buy yourself something nice. Thanks for stopping by! Glad to see you here.
Excellent advice – I especially like the advice to reward yourself for writing. I think the act of writing is the reward – but I also think chocolate is a wise choice of reward. (I own Living Write and love it – gave it as a gift to one of my writer friends!)