Say you only have a little over an hour each day to write. (That would be me.)
“Real” job, kids & family, cleaning, cooking, commuting, reading,
working out, and paying bills are all things that get in the way of writing. Most of those are good things, by the way (not cleaning; cleaning sucks), but still they make it impossible to spend 40+ hours a week writing.
These are also the important things you can’t cut out. Skipping the day job, for example, would definitely be a bad thing for the obvious reasons. And I don’t want to stay away from the house too much; it’s fairly important that my wife and kids remember who I am 🙂
After everything, I’m left with about an hour–at most two hours–a day to write during the week. Weekends are a little different, as I can stay up a little later since I’m not driving in the morning, but still don’t want to stay up too late and be a zombie trying to herd four kids.
So with a maximum of two hours, I’ve got to make those two hours count. The first way thing we did was get it scheduled. The options are either get up early or stay up late. Or both, I suppose. It depends on how you work. I’ve tried getting up at 5:00 AM in the past, but I just feel more creative at night. So lately I’ve been staying up late to work on stuff and then sleeping in till 6:00 AM.
That reminds me; let’s talk about sacrifice for a moment. I truly believe that if you’re not willing to make sacrifices for your dreams, then you don’t deserve to achieve them. That’s the first thing I tell myself every day when I’m getting around six hours of sleep.
But back to the 1-2 hours, I wanted to say real quick how I spent them. Going in with a plan is a must. I pick the two most important things and work on them. The first part (usually 30-60 minutes) varies. It’s usually put aside for the “maintenance” part of writing. Stuff like finishing up a blog post, resubmitting a short story, researching a market, working on Theme of Absence, or corresponding with people on Facebook & Twitter.
What I do in the second half (60-90 minutes) is based on my daily or monthly goals. It just kind of depends. Cleaning up a novel, shooting for a random word count number, finishing is scene…you know, real writing. Right now I’ve been working on a couple of short stories again.
Anyhow, that’s what works for me. What’s important is that you know exactly how much time you have and figure out a way to use it wisely.
And also figure out what you’re going to give up in order to get that time.
How do you budget your writing time? Leave a comment and let us know!