Today, I want to share a little bit of my life and give some advice that I have learnt from that advice.
As a writer, I am keenly aware that there is a muse or a mood to write in. I too find it hard to carve out the time to write when there are so many distractions all around. As a writer, you need to move away, especially if you want to be successful, from only writing when in the mood or when you have the time, to writing. I know it sounds trite but here are a few lessons I have learnt recently.
- Writing is like a muscle if you don’t exercise it you loose it, or it becomes weak.
- Reading is essential to good writing
Writing is like a muscle. I recently had an accident where my thumb was pretty badly bruised to the point where I couldn’t write, over the next couple of weeks I saw my desire to write, dry up and get lost in all the other things that I used to fill the time that I used to write in. That same thumb injury also made it hard to hold open a book so reading became difficult till I stopped doing it altogether. It has been three weeks since that accident and I am now struggling to write and read again as if I was a new novice writer. Ideas are hard to come by and my writing stamina has drained to the point that I find it challenging to write a paragraph let alone the thousands of words I used to pump out daily before the accident.
I am not writing this to excuse myself nor to gather sympathy from you, I use it to illustrate a point.
You need to maintain a routine, set aside time for all the important things in you life that you need to accomplish. I am going to push past the pain and try to get back to my writing schedule. Here are some of the things that I ensure that I have on my schedule to ensure that my mind is sharp and my family doesn’t wonder where I am.
- Writing time. – I know, I know, it is kind of the point but make sure the time you set aside is of a reasonable length that you can actually get work done and not just watch the clock.
- Reading time. – This doesn’t need to be a lot sometimes just enough for you to read a chapter or two of your current novel, I have a book on my bedside table and I try to read at least one chapter a day.
- Family time – I have a small son that I set to bed every night at roughly the same time every night, routines work really well for small children and that marker ends the working day for me.
- Time with the wife – Very important if I don’t want to end up alone. As my wife is very important to me being a writer I put aside time every day for her.
- Down time – One thing I have learnt about myself over the last several years is that I need time to de-stress and spend a bit of time not thinking about anything. I watch You tube or play a game that has no bearing on my day to day life, for me this needs to be something that I can use to empty my mind of most of my worries about the writing I have just written or anything else that may clutter my mind.
- Research time – Research is important for the writer and many writers can spend hours on researching things for their books, but they spend nearly no time on researching their audience and their market. I have found a cool way to ensure that my story telling is up to the task of appealing to my target demographic. I won’t tell you what it is, I have to have keep something secret, you need to find your own.
- Work – Until I make it big and start making enough off my books to pay for the living expenses of my family I still need to go to work. So I need to factor in the time to work.
- Sleep – Most people especially writers seem to forget that our best ideas come when we sleep. I don’t sit in a special chair and ideas pour into my head. I, like most people, need to rest and let your subconscious work.
Once you have a routine in place, set up someone to keep you accountable to the routine. You will always need people in your life, don’t push them out.
Keep writing and reading.