Block Buster #2: Three tips for finding time to write

What should you take time to do?

Is finding time to write your biggest obstacle to writing regular blogs, finishing that novel, or getting started on the title you have in mind? Have you announced you are going to write a book and are now embarrassed by your lack of progress? Here are some tips to try.

It happens to everybody
OK, I’m embarrassed too. Interesting that I should be writing on this topic when it’s been weeks since I wrote my last blog! First of all I’d say to both of us, “Get over it.” Let’s not allow our past performance to paralyze our future. Let’s make progress.

FCWC

I could use the excuse that I was improving my craft. Since writing Writer’s Block Buster #1 post, I attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference. It was great and I met a lot of wonderful people who were generous in sharing their knowledge. If you get a chance, you should attend a writer’s conference near you or not near you! It will fire up your creative juices or just give you a kick in the pants, which is what I need from time to time. After forgiving yourself for not writing, take a look at your schedule to see if it reflects your priorities.

Tip #1. Schedule according to priorities

What your schedule tells about your priorities
Consider your activities of the past week. Did you find time to write? If not, discover what consumes your time. For the next week, keep a log of how you spend your time. Note what activities took priority. Maybe these are more important than writing right now. Or maybe you might discover you are not doing what you want to do at all. You are in reactionary mode.

Fire in bones

What your emotions tell about your priorities
If your story is like a fire shut up in your bones and finding time to write seems impossible, you may notice you are a little grumpier than normal. If requests for your time leave you feeling resentful or even a little angry, it may be an unconscious reaction to your goals being blocked. Examine your heart and determine what you are longing to do. Then make it a priority on your schedule and guard it from interruptions. Be intentional.

Tip #2. Schedule writing zones

How do you find time in a busy schedule?
I’ll say it again, it’s about priorities—making time to do the things you love. It’s interesting all the ways we describe time as if we really had control of it: spend time, waste time, save time, take time. We can’t really make more time, but we can plan what to do with it.

Mark your calendar
Go back to your schedule. Take a typical week or month and block out three different time zones—maybe use colored highlighters. First, cross out all the regularly scheduled activities that you can’t change like your time at work, church, or regularly-scheduled meetings—indicate these as your “no” zones. Next, highlight activities that you have control over. Some of these you can choose not to do or do at another time of the day or month. Label these as your “maybe” zones and use them for writing every chance you get. Finally, look at what is discretionary time—your unplanned time—this is your “go” zones. Put these on your calendar as writing appointments with yourself that you cannot break.

Tip #3. Write at your optimal time

If you have the luxury, arrange your schedule so that you write when you are most creative. If you are a morning person, get up earlier or see if you can adjust your schedule such as moving your gym time to after work. If you are a night owl who comes to life after 8:00 pm, resist the urge to turn on the TV, surf the internet, or check Facebook. I suggest you use your less creative times for editing and rewriting. I think you get the idea.

Your turn
Please use the comments section to share what works best for you!
Write on!

Kathy

Harnessing time to do what you love

What should you take time to do?-3

Notice how we talk about time—we spend time, waste time, save time, take time—all suggesting we have control over time!

Judging by the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have enough time,” it sounds like there is a universal shortage of it. How do we get more?

We have the talents and skills to make many things, but we can’t make more time. So, the real question is: “How do we use the time we have in the most fulfilling way?”

If you were given a month free of responsibilities how would you be spending your time?

Do what you love

If you were given a month free of responsibilities how would you be spending your time? Does your response inform what your priorities should be? Even amidst your busy daily activities, if you are not taking some time for doing what you love, you’re probably not a very happy camper. In fact, if you find you are slightly agitated on a daily basis, it may be a sign that something is blocking you from doing what you may only subconsciously believe you should be doing. Your values are trying to tell you something.

At this point in my life, I strongly desire to write down legacy information for the next generation to enjoy reading and to possibly learn from my life lessons. I know that if I’m not making time for writing in my weekly routine, every request of my time becomes an irritation. That all changes when I’m doing what I know I should be. Then I am much more flexible, accommodating, and joyful. What about you? What should you be making time for?

Harnessing time

While we cannot manufacture more time, there are at least a couple ways we might be able to better handle what we do have. I want to talk about two of these today: setting priorities and scheduling.

Practices reveal priorities

At the beginning of the day, my first priority is to turn to God. He is the only one who can control time—partly because he is outside the time-space continuum and mostly because he’s God! Notice what 1 Peter 3:8 says about God and time: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Clearly, God has time for everyone and everything! How can we tap in?

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 1 Peter 3:8

Ordering time

Throughout the Bible, we see God measuring things. Measurements set boundaries. For humans, time is measured by days and nights, months, years, and a lifetime. Within those boundaries, we can order our time by setting priorities—making time for what’s important. and by putting them on the calendar— taking time to do them.

Making the most of your time

Do you have tricks and strategies for making the most of your time? Do you schedule time to do the things you love? I’d like to hear them! Here are a few that work for me:

  • By rising early in the morning, I can avoid interruptions and spend time with God meditating on his Word. When I take time to make this my first priority, God seems to make up for it in other ways. For example: maybe I arrive at a solution or idea sooner rather than agonizing over it for hours. Or a client serendipitously reschedules an appointment freeing up an already packed schedule.
  • Next, I intentionally schedule doing things that I want to do. For me, it is being with grandchildren or taking time for writing or having coffee with a friend. If I have a big project I’m working on, I break it into small deadlines and try my best to meet them.
  • I make appointments with myself putting them on the calendar. I have done this with writing days. I set up a consistent day of the week to write, put it on the calendar like an appointment, and protect it from interruptions! When another invitation comes you can say, “Oh sorry, I have another appointment scheduled at that time.”
  • When up against a deadline, I used to worry myself into a migraine. Now, I use this little trick. While I’m working, I’m telling myself: “There is enough time, there is enough time.” It serves two purposes: 1. It reminds me to relax and, 2. Somehow miraculously, there is always enough time!

Living in the moment

I know that I am going to hear from my friends who are constantly reminding me to be in the moment! OK, I tend to be a planner and when something interferes with my schedule, it throws me off a little. I’m trying to be flexible! I applaud those of you who can savor every moment! Are you someone that in whatever circumstance, you find an opportunity for enjoyment and appreciation? You have something to teach me!

What are your tips and tricks for making the most of time? What are you taking time to do that you love? I want to hear from you. Leave me a comment!

Write On!
Kathy

P.S. Coming Soon: Writer’s Block Busters

Since writing is something I should be making time for, my next blog series addresses What should you take time to do?breaking through writer’s blocks (both physically and mentally). In the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging on “Eight Writer’s Block Busters.” If you have some tips that work for you, please share them in the comments area! We will all thank you!