It takes time to “own” being a writer. For me it took several published books and a few royalty cheques. This was pre-author website, self-promotion and social networking days. Back when writing was a far more solitary and silent act. But, I digress. Of course, being a writer is not only about being published, but the act of writing. Writers write.
How often do you meet someone socially who enquires, what do you do?
“I’m a writer.”
“Really, I always wanted to write a book. I just don’t have the time.”
Gotta love these people. If only they could grab that snatch of time and tap out that book. Thank goodness, they don’t, because that would mean all the more competition in an already crowded marketplace.
I think a lot of people more love the “idea” of being a writer. The physical act, time needed and learning the craft of writing is a whole other ball game.
Making writing time and owning being a writer are about setting yourself up for success. A mindset that worked for me. So I thought I’d share a few tips and ideas for new writers.
Before you solve the lack of writing time conundrum, you need to:
1. Know why you write
b. Professional /budding author
c. Cannot not write
Work out, do you like to write and the idea of being published? Or, do you believe yourself to be a writer and write to be published?
2. Believe being a writer is who you are
It’s hard in the beginning to allow ourselves the right to take writing time, especially when it cuts into family/friend/social time. Call it. Own it as you’re writing, producing words, crafting an actual manuscript. Join a writing group for support and critique. Send out your work to competitions, markets – both free and paying to start.
3. Enlist help
To do this you need: (if you aren’t living on your own)
a) An understanding partner
b) A partner who knows “writing” is what you do
c) Kids that know “writing” is what Mum/Dad does
d) Family who know “writing” is what you do
***they can only know this by seeing you do it.***
4. Show you are a writer by writing
When you write and produce and – are seen to do so – your dedication is how others come to take you seriously as a writer. Once they do, this is when you can really call in practical support and understanding.
Writing time tips:
1. Schedule /block out time to write every day
2. Swap TV time for writing time
3. Take phone off hook/Turn off mobile – be unavailable during your writing time
4. Close email program – turn off widget that notifies incoming email, if you can’t avoid looking
5. Give yourself permission to be anti-social – negotiate with partner/family
6. Young children: Get the family to help with chores, don’t accept excuses.
7. Older children: Organise a roster for household jobs AND ENFORCE IT.
8. Put a sign on the door to say “Writer at Work!” And mean it.
9. Hire a cleaner/gardener/lawn care person.
10. Drop back from full-time to part-time work or arrange flexi-time.
11. Get up an hour earlier OR go to bed an hour later
12. Negotiate writing time with partner/family at weekends.
13. Write in short bursts – grab time wherever/whenever you can.
14. Own your right to your own time
Sometimes you just have to choose writing over a social engagement; a movie you want to see; a loved hobby; your windows might not be as clean, or your garden as perfect as it once was; your cupboards may be less tidy – you cannot have it all. How much do want you want to write? If you really want it, just do it. Even snatches add up. Three hundred words isn’t much. 300 words a day by 300 days of the year = 90,000 words. That, people, is a novel.