“Create Time for What You Love” by Joan Y. Edwards
It’s hard to juggle work and family schedules to do the things you love. I love writing and illustrating. Perhaps you do, too. It could be you love skiing and don’t get enough time to do that. Whatever it is that you want to have time for, you can change the ideas below to work for you. However, I’m focusing today on time to write or illustrate.
It seems like you have to be a scientist or magician to create time to write and illustrate. Author, Robin K. Moore said, “For those of us not writing full time, there is always the struggle of making time to work on our craft.” She asked for tips on how to get time to write. Illustrators have this same problem. You may find it difficult to find the time to do activities you love with your busy schedules with work and family. So I did a little brainstorming to find a few ideas that might help writers, illustrators, and anyone who struggles to find time for important projects. To simplify I’ll use writing, but you can insert the activity or project of your choice.
Set aside a certain amount of time to write each day: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours.
This doesn’t include time spent in research, learning new skills, and marketing. Set aside different time slots for them.
How much per week do successful writers devote to writing? Researching? Marketing? Learning new skills? Every project takes different amounts of time. Non-fiction and historical fiction demand more research. Some writers need more study with skills; others with revision.
Depending upon your present life commitments and responsibilities, you may find time as nonexistent. You have to discover it, uncover it, rip it out, or whatever devious means you need to create the time you need. Here’s what I’ve heard other writers do:
Get up 30 minutes to an hour earlier in the morning.
When your children are reading, write.
When the family is watching television, use an iPad or laptop and write while you’re with them. It takes concentration, but you can do parts of your writing: brainstorming, revisions.
Use software similar to Dragon Dictation that will not only record your words, but write them down for you. You can record while cooking supper, washing dishes, sorting laundry, etc.
Ask your spouse to give you this free time as a gift for your birthday, or special occasion.
Get together with a group of writer friends and spend time writing. If you want a critique, add an hour to the time together so you have one hour to write and another hour to critique.
Take your children to the library. Ask a librarian to help them find books. Write while she’s helping them.
If you’re eating out, use your phone to write yourself an email with your writing ideas for a chapter, character, or scene.
Hire a babysitter to watch the children while you write. If a friend has children, too, swap time so that you entertain the children one week for 2 hours and you entertain them the next week. Thus both of you get time to write.
Say “There’s time for me to write.” Then look for time and ask for time and you’ll find it.
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How do you find time to write, illustrate, or do fun things?
How much time do you spend a day or week on writing or illustrating?
Do you write part-time or full-time?
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Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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16 thoughts on “Create Time for What You Love”
Great article, Joan. Thank you. I especially think number 6 and 10 are powerful. A writer may need to spend more time with like-minded friends to stay in the writing mindset and to meet writing goals. Pair with a writer friend or a group of writers, online or in a face-to-face group.
About busyness… An old expression says, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” How do they do it? I read an article that suggested that busy people think like a project manager. They break assignments down into steps and meet deadlines. If a person wants to accomplish more writing, set a specific goal to reach and accomplish it. For example, a writer might sign up to participate in PiBoIdMo– A picture book idea a day for the month of November. I’m participating. All day long, I keep myself open to ideas, conversations, scenes in nature, etc. that peak my interest. I write down ones that “jump out at me.” My imagination has a great day and so do I. Even when you can’t sit down to write, keep your mind open to a writing project that is important to you. Ideas will come.
Thank you for writing and sharing your ideas about making time to write. You’re right. You do have to plan to write and keeping friends with like goals will help. I’m so glad you write. What you write makes our world a better place!
Celebrate you and your willingness to share your wisdom with others.
Never Give Up
So kind of you. Thanks!
You’re very welcome.
Those of us Grannies have finding time issues as well. I was surprised when I left teaching that I would be so busy. I follow your first suggestion, getting up early. That works for me because once the busy-ness begins, writing is the last thing on my mind. I impose deadlines on myself and work in a flurry until that project is accomplished and I’m free to enjoy life…until the next deadline appears.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. You’re right. It is surprising that time flies by and leaves us no time to write unless we look for a way to do it…like getting up early. So glad that’s helped you. You’ve written many wonderful books and articles. The world is a better place because of your writing.
Never Give Up
This comment is from Kathleen Burkinshaw:
Joan, These are some great ideas! I do love DragonSpeak it has helped so much. It definitely makes it easier to write and saves my hands from hurting more than they already do 🙂 Now to be productive like folding laundry and using it….that will take some time 🙂
P.S. I erroneously put the wrong link for responding. So I’ve copied and pasted your comment here for https://www.joanyedwards.com/2015/11/19/create-time-to-write-and-illustrate/. Thanks again for commenting.
Thank you for taking time to write, Kathleen. I know God is proud of you for taking all your effort to share your wonderful view of our world with others. Our world is a better place because of your writing.
Never Give Up
Sandra Warren wrote:
I have to TELL myself…”Don’t open emails! Don’t open emails!…when I first sit down at the computer if I want to get any writing done. Most days it’s a struggle. The lure of correspondence with an old friend, messages from family, a possible request for a book or a presentation date is too enticing, like the dark chocolate bar hidden in the cupboard.
It seemed easier, believe it or not, to carve out time to write before I was kid-free and retired. In those days I was forced to plan every moment and I found it easier to plan than today. Now, because I think I have all the time in the world, I don’t plan well and different things tug away my BIC time. And even after a book comes out when I’m ready to start working on another idea, marketing time eats away precious writing time. You HAVE to prioritize — easier said than done.
Thanks for the reminder that with planning writing time is possible. I needed that pep talk today.
P.S. I erroneously put the wrong link for responding. I had changed it but didn’t update my blog. So I’ve copied and pasted your comment here for https://www.joanyedwards.com/2015/11/19/create-time-to-write-and-illustrate/. Thanks again for commenting.
Thank you for writing and sharing the things that have worked for you – Prioritizing your time. Time slips away when you open emails. Sometimes the social needs outweigh the writing needs. It’s a double necessity to find time to write and time to market! Thank you for making time to write and publish your books and have others to publish your books. Our world is a better place because of your writing.
Never Give Up
Sharon Willett said:
I find if I don’t write in the mornings by afternoon there is too many distractions. Getting words on paper makes me feel better about everything. Thank you for posting these helpful hints.
Note from Joan: P.S. I erroneously put the wrong link for responding in my post.So I’ve copied and pasted your comment here. Thanks again for commenting.
Thanks for writing and sharing that getting up early in the mornings, works for you. Our world is a better place because of your writing. Keep on writing.
Never Give Up
Thank you for that insight, Joan. My first big “aha” in carving out writing time was when I scheduled two hours on my day planner to write. A friend called and wanted to do lunch. Rolling in my head was this thought: “If I really wanted to be writing, I would have to CHOOSE writing over socializing (or tv, or reading, or whatever).” For the first time, I chose writing over another activity. In that moment, I finally felt truly like I was working on my craft. What empowerment!
Thank you for writing. Thanks for giving me the idea for this blog post on finding time to write. I’m glad that you put two hours in your schedule and then treasured and guarded this time. Do you see how you found a way to find time to write. It is to say, “I have 2 hours to write. It’s right here in the schedule.”
So proud of you and happy for you.
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Hi Joan, my plan is to find time to do all of the above, but when I’m involved in one aspect, i.e. drawing, marketing, writing, etc. I become so immersed I can’t seem to pull myself away from any one item. So on a given day all I may do is draw. I think one has to find what suits their personality. 🙂
Thank you for writing and sharing how you manage your time to draw, market, write, etc. Doing each on a separate day allows you to focus. You’re right. Everyone’s plan should be tailored to suit their personality and needs.
Good luck with all of your projects.
Never Give Up