One of the most common questions I am asked is, "How do you find the time to write?"
To me, this is a lot like asking how one finds the time to brush and floss or exercise or do any one of the many things that we map out as habitual priorities. Over the years, I've thought a lot about this question and what it means to different people. Out of this contemplation, I have arrived at a few tips that may just help you find the time you need to write in 2011 and beyond.
Finding the Time to Write
Insert writing into your life regularly. If you are the type of person that likes to keep a strict schedule, you might find that reserving a specific block of time works best. You might also consider parameters such as writing 500-1000 words at every sitting. Or, 2-3 pages. There are many ways to build a framework around the task. Personally, my schedule is different nearly every day, so I don't stick to a strict schedule. But, I write several times a week and always make sure that I have some time set aside to meet deadlines.
Write whether you are in the mood or not. Don't worry if you are not in the mood to write. Do it anyway. It's almost impossible to only be creative when your muse is at its best. Sometimes writing is fun, but a lot of times it's just work. Professional writers have spent many hours writing useless material. Ironically, your best writing may come forth when you least want to do it.
Set some deadlines. Even if you haven't sold an article or a book, it's good to have some deadlines that you adhere to. Many writers become very frustrated and spend years working on the same material over and over. For a lucky few, that's the ticket to success. However, for the vast majority of writers, it's time spent on a project that likely won't ever be published. So, consider what you want to write and set some realistic deadlines. If you don't meet them, consider how you might want to change course. This doesn't necessarily mean giving up the project—maybe all you need is to work with a book coach or a freelance editor.
Just write. Really, it all boils down to just doing it. Yup, Nike has the right motto when it comes to writing—just do it!