Anyone with half a brain would know that writing takes up a shit ton of time. First, you have to gather inspiration, then you have to write, then you have to have a mental breakdown midway through and wonder why you ever thought you could be a writer in the first place. Then you have to write again. The whole process is very time-consuming.
But it is possible to write a book, a novella, or whatever else you'd want while living a life outside of your head. For me, I wrote my book "Back to You" while in college full-time and working part-time. It was my procrastination station, so basically I wrote most of it while I was supposed to be doing something else.
I will admit that it's a damn miracle I was able to stay in school and keep my scholarships, but still. I did it! And you can too.
And here are some tips how :)
Designate Your Writing Time...
If you don't set your life aside to write for a period of time, you'll never get any writing done. I've written a whole post about creating your best writing process here, so check that out for a base guide if you haven't yet.
If you want to be a writer, you have to have the discipline for it. It's so much easier said than done, I know. But it's really that simple. Forget about the load of laundry you have going, tell your partner to leave you the f*** alone for twenty minutes, give your dog a bone so they stop begging for your attention. When it's time to write, WRITE.
Or else you'll keep putting it off until the passion to do so is no longer there.
My best writing time is super early in the morning, right after I've woken up. So in the hour before I have to start getting ready for my day job, I try my hardest not to do anything but write.
...But Don't Get Crazy
I am the WORST at this. When I was in college and writing "Back to You", if I hadn't written for a while and suddenly felt the urge to, I would abandon everything else. And I'm not talking about the good things to abandon like I mentioned above. I'm talking about hygiene, eating, social interaction, work (sorry boss, if you're reading this). If I was in my zone, I would take too much advantage of it.
And by the time the day was over, I'd be alone in my bedroom with a growling stomach and a gross, depressed mindset. As introverted and antisocial as you may be which, believe me, I completely understand, you at least need to talk to SOMEONE once a day. I don't care if it's tagging your mom in a cute dog meme on Facebook. You just have to do something.
Utilize Free Moments
If you're like me and have a day job, which most writers do, it's hard to focus on anything but what you're working on. You may feel guilty for thinking of a fight scene while you're supposed to be inputting invoices, but you need to take advantage.
Some of my greatest ideas, and even not-so-greatest ones, have come to me at an inopportune time. But instead of pushing them aside and forgetting them, I quickly grab a post-it or my phone and jot it down. Yes you have a job and that should be your priority while you're there, but you're still a writer.
Even if you're not at work. If you're out shopping or stuck in traffic...anywhere you are. Inspiration is hard to come by, so indulge in it.
Use a Notebook
With how crazy life can get, it's hard to get down to the basics of writing. Getting on the internet to research a novel can turn into replying to work emails. Reading a novel for inspiration can turn into a full-day reading binge. And it's even worse when you're working full-time, and have that thought "well...I just need a break from everything" and only avoid writing more.
That's why I've always been such a notebook fan (obsessor).
Keeping a journal, writing your thoughts down, transports you to the most basic, pure form of writing. You can't get distracted by a notification in the corner of your screen, or be only one click away from stalking your ex. It's you, your thoughts, and pen and paper. You're not a blog runner, or an accountant...for that period of time, you're simply a writer.
Yes, of course, there are apps and software that will mute notifications or keep you from going onto Facebook for the millionth time that day, but in my opinion, nothing will ever beat a notebook.
Keep Things Separate
If you do use a notebook for your writing, don't let it be the same as the one you use for your life. The worst thing for your creativity is to have that doctor's appointment reminder, or those test notes, staring at you while you try to create.
Use two different notebooks. Keep separate computer folders. Color-code your life; green for finances, pink for your novel.
Do everything in your power to have it where, when you're writing, that's all your focused on.
Turn Writing Into Your Life-Break
This is something I still struggle with. When I was younger and wrote, it was an escape for me. It calmed me down, and made me forget about my life.
But now that I'm older and published and want writing to be my life, it's harder to lose myself in it. I stress myself out, become too perfectionistic, and think about so much more than I should.
When you're writing and creating, that needs to be your escape. It doesn't need to be a job to you because you probably already have one of those. It needs to be fun, for the most part, and give you a break from stress.
For me, something that helps is not saying that I'm a writer, but saying that I enjoy writing. That way, it makes it less of a job and more of an enjoyment thing. I'm sure there are tons of other psychological hacks that help, but this is the easiest for me.
Write For Yourself
I'm putting this as the last tip because, if you take anything away from this post, THIS NEEDS TO BE IT.
It goes hand in hand with what I just mentioned, that writing needs to be fun for you and not a job. And the best way to do that is simply to write for yourself. Lose yourself in the creative part of your mind, not the stressed part that is constantly thinking about how a reader may perceive what you're working on. Don't think about getting it published, or whether or not this one subplot will piss readers off.
And that's that.
Unfortunately, most writers, even the published ones, don't make nearly enough money. The average writer makes maybe $10k per year, so unless you're married to some major earner, you need a solid income. You need a desk job, a side hustle. Or if you're a stay-at-home spouse, you have to keep the house clean and make sure the kids/pets have everything they need which is a job in itself.
Life is overpowering and fast, and it's so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it. Because if you don't, you'll never get to write that story that's been inhabiting your brain for so long.
[clickToTweet tweet="Life is overpowering and fast, and it's so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it." quote="Life is overpowering and fast, and it's so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it. "]
So I hope that some of these tips help you out! They're all easier said than done, I know, but hopefully, they provoke you just that much more to get writing.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for us people who love writing!
Thanks for reading :)