Creative Writing Tips: The Biggest Problem for Writers
In this creative writing tips series, you'll learn how to solve writer's block, plan a story, and more. At the bottom of the page are links to get help with a variety of topics.
In a recent survey, over 3500 members of our e-mail group told us the biggest difficulty they face with their writing.
What do you think the most common answer was?
Here are a few of the comments we received in the survey:
- "Finding time to write."
- "Finding enough time to sit and write regularly."
- "Time - there's never enough of it."
Yes, the number one problem mentioned was TIME.
The people who answered our survey have busy lives full of demands. They would like to spend more of their time writing, but they're not sure how to make it happen.
If you're in a similar situation, here's a strategy you can use. It's a little bit of work, but it can add a huge amount of writing time to your days.
Are you ready to make this happen?
On a piece of paper, write down how you spend your day, hour by hour, paying special attention to activities that you repeat every day. You can either take notes as the day progresses or reconstruct at the end of the day.
Do this for three days.
At the end of that period, you should have a detailed log that shows all of your activities and how much time you spend on each of them.
Review the notes you've taken, and try to find one thing you can cut out of your schedule. For example, if you watch a 30-minute TV show every evening, consider cutting it.
In an extra 30 minutes a day, you could write 200 words. That means that in one year, you could complete a 73,000 novel.
At the end of the year, which would you prefer to have done? Watched 182 hours of television? Or written a novel?
Also look for one thing you could do more efficiently.
For example, if you're spending time every hour on the phone or answering e-mails, try blocking that time all together and making phone calls or answering e-mails just once a day. That can lead to major time savings.
On the same piece of paper where you tracked your activities, write down your answers to these two questions.
1) What is the one thing you're going to cut out of your schedule?
2) Is there anything you can do more efficiently? What is your strategy for that?
Put your plan into practice for 1-2 days, and keep track of the results. Exactly how much time are you saving?
Write down the total time savings per day; for example, 1 hour.
Now that you've created extra time in your day, plan how to schedule your writing.
Ideally, you would reserve a specific writing time every day. That will help prevent other activities from filling the extra time and pushing writing out.
For example, you might decide to write every morning from 6:30-7:00 a.m. Or you might decide to write for at least fifteen minutes every night before you go to bed.
Congratulations! You've done it! You're a writer.
"Becoming a writer means being creative enough to find the time and the place in your life for writing.”
- Heather Sellers
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