Making Time for Your Writing or Art in Four Easy Steps
I have a confession. Many writers and artists struggle to find time to practice their craft. But not me. Of course, it’s not because I’m an efficient time manager who operates on a set routine. No, it’s quite the opposite. You see, my life is so chaotic that I’ve simply given up. I don’t even bother trying to make time for writing.
One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this lit mag is because I need creativity in my life, and I haven’t believed I could find the time to create myself. My government job is busy, but stagnant. And while breathing in others’ creativity is a lot of fun, and while I’m also thrilled about putting other peoples’ amazing works out there, it’s simply not enough. I think those of us who are drawn to creating in whatever form always feel the tug. We know there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of expressing what wells inside, of shaping something from nothing, of giving our best to our creation.
Obviously, I need to write this article for myself. But based on comments from the other writers and artists I talk to, I know I need to write it for many of you too. With families and jobs and traffic and friends and housework and hopefully a few workouts and that daily need to figure out what to eat, it’s hard to prioritize our writing. Yet, it can be done. Here comes the pep talk.
1. Make it a priority. If it’s not as important as all of those other things we do in our lives, it’s simply not going to happen. And that’s okay. There is a season for everything. Right now, it’s ski season in Montana. Writing is a tug. Snapping into two slender, waxed boards and flying across the snow is more like a shove. I just have to be out there.
2. Commit to a definite amount of time. For me, writing is a priority, but not enough to spend whole days doing it. If writing (or your preferred art form) is a top priority for you, decide how much time you can give. Personally, I can commit to write at least four hours a week. Some of you may have four hours a day. That’s killer. I love a large block of time to immerse myself in words. And for the past few (okay, several) years, my cop out has been that I can’t write if I don’t have a few hours to spend getting into it. However, that way of thinking has stopped me just like hitting a big rock put an immediate stop to my ski and resulted in a nasty fall a few weeks ago.
3. Schedule your time like an appointment. Maybe you have a set schedule and can plan out a month of writing appointments in advance, or maybe you need to plan week-by-week depending upon what’s going on. I may be able to get four hours in on a Saturday, but if I’m going out of town or have too many commitments over the weekend, then I need to make sure I take some time Sunday night to plan when I’ll write during the week. In this case, I have to fit it in before or after work.
4. Keep the appointment. It doesn’t matter if you hear a muse or not. You may have days that are utterly uninspired. But you are at least putting pen to paper, brush to canvas. You’re better off than everyone else staring at their phone or the flat screen. You’re making an effort. And if you do happen to miss an appointment, reschedule. Writing adds a lot of meaning to my life, and I feel resentful when I get lost in the day-to-day survival and don’t honor time for my chosen craft. Knowing this, I also know I can’t keep giving up. Four hours a week. Here we go. What’s your commitment?