I’m embarrassed to admit that it has been almost two months since my last post. Life has become hectic, as it often does, and I have not made the time to update my website the way that I should. With that being said, I have been writing. Progress on my new novel has been slowly crawling along despite everything that is currently going on in my life.
This was not always the case. Being able to make time to work on my novel amongst the busyness of life was not always an easy thing for me to do. I know I am not the only writer who runs into this problem. It is something that plagues us all and we have to constantly work at it in order to accomplish our goals (which I would venture to say is just to finish writing the damn book already). I thought I would share some helpful steps that I have taken toward overcoming the “I’m too busy” mindset.
Join a writing group. This was the first, and probably the most effective, step I took toward dedicating time to write. I joined my writing critique group back around March 2017. At that time, I was attempting to rewrite Just Down the Street, Across the Ocean. And by attempting, I mean I had not written a single word in eight to ten months. I needed something to motivate me to write. Joining a writing group did that. This group not only held me accountable for submitting new and revised work, they helped me grow as a writer. They offered guidance in areas of growth and helped my find my voice. They not only encouraged me to complete my novella, but gave me the confidence to self-publish it. Throughout the last two years, there have been times that my commitment to the group has wavered, but I have always found myself returning.
Set a goal. This one may seem a bit obvious, and I’ve talked about it in my post Mondays are Good Days to Talk About Goals, but I can’t stress it enough, goals are important. They keep you accountable. If you are not the type of person who can keep yourself accountable, tell someone who will keep you accountable (like someone in your writing group!). Right now, my goal is to make time to write at least one page a week. If you think about it, this is actually a pretty small goal and can still be difficult to keep. Again, life is busy and writing is hard. This is why goals are important. If I decide that I’m too tired after work throughout the week to work on that one page, then I know Saturday morning I’m waking up, brewing some coffee, turning on my laptop, turning off my phone, and getting to work. That page is getting written, however painstakingly. Slow progress is better than no progress.
Make a deadline. Goals keep you on track in the day-to-day, deadlines keep you on track in the long term. When I was working on Just Down the Street, Across the Ocean, I made a deadline of having a finalized draft by the Summer of 2018. Not only did the deadline keep me on track, but it stopped me from getting in the cycle of rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing, and so on and so forth. I was then able to move on to my next goal of trying to get it published. I gave myself six months for someone to pick it up and then, as you know, I would self-publish it. Yes, it was a long process, but at least it is done. And now I am free to work on my next novel and focus on my new goal of completing my first draft of my new book by September 2019.
Basically, find the time to write. Make room for it in your schedule. That’s what all these helpful steps boil down to; they force you to think about writing and set aside time to focus on only that. Finding time to write isn’t going to magically happen, you have to actively plan it into your daily/weekly/monthly routine. Find an accountability partner (or partners!) to keep you on track and stop making excuses. So really, the only question that remains is, what are you waiting for? Go write!