Finding the time to write a story, a poem, or that novel you’ve always wanted write requires certain techniques.
By Dr. Anuchka Ramos
Director of the Interdisciplinary School of Humanistic and Social Studies (FIEHS, Spanish acronym)
In my experience as a writer and literature professor, the most common excuses for not writing are: “Oh, the muses don’t come to me!” or “I have no time.” They say that if inspiration really exists, it should find you working, so forget about the muses. Now, finding the time to write a story, a poem, or that novel that you have always wanted to write does require some techniques.
Here are five tips to help you find your writing time.
Tip # 1: Take it seriously
Your writing time has to be your writing time. It is not the time you share while watching Netflix or surfing the Internet. It’s one thing for ideas to come to you while you watch a series or check out a meme on Facebook. That’s normal: ideas come when you least expect them. But when I talk about taking writing seriously, I mean you must understand that it’s an artistic, intuitive, free process, but it also responds to discipline. Get your calendar and reserve a number of daily or weekly hours to sit down to write. My recommendation is that, as far as it’s possible, start with one hour a day.
Tip # 2: Maximize time
If you find it impossible to devote a specific moment to writing, identify what other tasks you can maximize to integrate the ideation process. This is the moment when you start to identify what’s the story you really want to tell and how you want to tell it. Maybe it could be the time when you’re working out or when you decide to clean your drawers. Perhaps it is in conversation with a partner or friend. Always take notes in a notebook or on your cell phone. Make writing a part of your life.
Tip # 3: Every day is different
Some days, the writing will be more fluid, time will fly, and you may find yourself writing for three or four hours. But be aware: there are days when ideas get tangled up, they get difficult, and won’t let themselves be turned into words. What will you do in those days? Stick to your writing time! Keep writing, check what you’ve written, get up and go find the ideas. Each person’s creative process is different. However, artistry lies in finding the perfect way to translate images, characters, and ideas into language. Perfection – or as close as you can come to it – always takes some work.
Tip # 4: Make a plan
Writing requires discipline and planning. If you are working on a book, a report, or any other writing project, plan your goals and phases of work. In general, the writing process requires three steps: ideation, execution, and review. What will be your deadline for each of these? From here to December, what do you hope to have written? Even in creative or literary writing, you can make and outline of the plot, characters, or chapters, and work from that. Do not leave it to luck or the muses. Think that, if you write at least one page a day, you’ll have 365 pages at the end of one year.
Tip # 5: Use tools to focus
I’ll share a secret with you. We professors also get distracted! One tool that helps me focus a lot on my writing is the Pomodoro app, from The Pomodoro Technique. This technique consists of distributing the time in blocks of 25 minutes with a short or long pause option between each block. You can do it manually or you can download the free application to your cell phone. Another resource I have used is FocusWriter, which serves to isolate the writing page in your computer.
Remember, creative writing also has its process. Besides imagination, it requires time and discipline, like all works of art.