Guest post by Erin Tolbert
Whether you write romance, self-help, historical fiction or anything in between, all authors have something in common: You must make time to write.
Let’s be honest, how often do you say to yourself, “If I could just find time to write…”?
But here’s the thing, it’s not easy to “find time” to write because…life. There are still only 24 hours or 1440 minutes in the day and while the latter sounds more generous, a day is a day and life is always moving full-speed ahead.
So, what can you do?
Quit trying to “find time” to write. MAKE TIME to write.
“I can’t. I have to…”
“Yeah right. Like it’s SO easy.”
I hear those voices in your head. They’re kind of annoying. We’re here to talk about the CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE, c’mon now. Seriously. Ask the voices in your head to hear me out for a few minutes. I promise it’ll be worth it.
Here are 4 simple, realistic changes you can make, and you will be happier when you do.
- Prioritize. We all have “to-do” lists whether you scribble them down on paper or they are forever running through your mind. Each thing may only take a few minutes, but when you’re staring at a list of 20 items it can feel overwhelming and sometimes it’s hard to be productive when your mind is foggy.
Break your list down into sections. What needs to be done right now? What can wait until after your writing time? If you decide something can wait until later, don’t let it interrupt your writing time. Remember how you had to learn to take turns when you were younger? Your “to-dos” can learn to wait too.
- Delegate. You’ve gone through your list and broken it down by priority level, now what can you delegate? Whether it be in your professional or personal life, there are probably a few things you can have someone help you with, or take over. Listen, I know this isn’t easy. I’ve been there, thinking I could do it all, and while I somehow made it work I was stressed, tired, certainly not at my best and absolutely not making time to do the things I enjoy. You enjoy writing, don’t you? Then give your writing time the value it deserves and MAKE TIME TO WRITE.
No matter what stage you are at in your writing career, just starting to get things on paper or promoting previous works while writing the next book in your series, an author assistant can help you. It’s a small investment with huge rewards. Imagine having someone available to help you with all the things that are keeping you from writing. Maybe it’s social media management, maybe it’s research, perhaps it’s scheduling and financial management…those things on your to-do list that you dread doing can likely be handled by a virtual author assistant.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Jessica Jackley, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Kiva, she says:
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Think about it.
- Schedule. Determine when you are at your creative best or in the mood to write. Is it after a run? Is it before you head into the office for the day? Whenever it is, block off that time to write. You owe it to yourself.
- Celebrate. You know what? I am NOT above rewarding myself after meeting a self-imposed deadline, and you shouldn’t be either. Incentives work. Teachers use them. Major corporations use them. Why not you, too? Reward yourself once you reach your writing goal—whether that be a fixed amount of hours a week or maybe a certain word count or something different—PLEASE…celebrate.
You have to decide what’s worth YOUR time. Think about what you can say no to. Think about what you can delegate. Writing is a non-negotiable must-do.
What’s one thing you plan to do to make time to write this week? We’d love to hear from you!
Erin Tolbert is a Virtual Assistant specializing in Author Services, Social Media Management and Graphic Design. An advocate for work-life balance, she loves color coding spreadsheets, checking items off lists and doodling in her planner. Find her at:
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