Sometimes it’s difficult to find the balance between our fiction and reality. To help with that, I invited writing friend Chrys Fey to share some tips on having a life while still being able to write.
Does writing take up a lot of your time, leaving you without a life? And yet, you’re not getting anywhere with your writing? Then it’s time to re-evaluate your time and the effort you’re putting in.
First things first…
We don’t want to spend an entire day trying to write and failing. The best thing to do is to dedicate a certain amount of time to writing each day, or at least most days. This can be one hour at the minimum, 3 hours, or even five hours if you’re a full-time writer. When do you get the best work done? In the morning? In the evening, afternoon, or at night? Pick out your writing timeframe and use it to write. Replying back to emails and tweeting doesn’t count, either! Write your story.
Giving yourself a specific writing timeframe will do two things: allow you to write and allow you to have a life outside of writing.
But if you have a writing schedule, you need to make the most of that time. Are you sitting at your desk, struggling?
Change your scenery.
Writing in the same place can kill creativity. Try writing outside, at the park or beach, in a book store or coffee shop, in bed or even in your car. You don’t need to be in the same place every time during your writing time. Mix it up and see if your muse likes different locales.
Change your medium.
If you always work with a computer/laptop, try to hand write your WIP with a pen and paper.
Try to write freely by pouring every thought that pops into your head onto your paper. Don’t think about making anything flow or adding vivid prose. And don’t edit as you go, either. Restrain yourself. Saving self-editing for before or after your writing time. Rereading and editing what you last wrote could actually help you to pick up the flow again from where you left off.
- Pick a random moment in your story to write. Just because you plot out your story doesn’t mean you need to write it in order. Pick a scene that you’re excited to write and write it! And keep on going until you need to stop. See if you can continue from there the next day.
Perhaps it’s something else that’s stopping you from being productive. Perhaps your procrastinating by being on Facebook. Or emails and tweets are distracting you. This is a huge reason why writers aren’t getting any writing done. There are too many distractions. We need to remove ourselves from temptation.
6. Turn off your cell phone. No texting, posting on Instagram, or tweeting for you. You can do those things AFTER your writing time.
- Disconnect your landline.
8. Temporarily delete your Internet icon (on your computer) so you won’t be tempted to click on it. Just make sure to un-delete it before you clean out the waste bin.
9. Tell your family you need X amount of writing time to yourself and close yourself in a room. When that time is up, open the door, step out, and do something with your family. Play a board game, watch a movie, or just chat about your days.
Great. We’re off to a great start. We have a designated writing time, we have tips to try if we struggle, and we know to eliminate distractions. Now what?
10. Choose a time every day to shut yourself off from writing. If you write during a good chunk of the day, pick a time in the evening to cut yourself off from writing. Every day at 8pm, I turn off my computer to give myself a break, even if I was on a roll most of the day. Because I know that I can burn myself out if I keep going, and usually by 8pm I’m exhausted after writing for so long. If you write in the morning or at night, give yourself a free hour during the day to have fun not writing. Those little moments make a difference.
11. Pick a day or two a week to unplug and have a life. You don’t have to write on these days, but you can if you’re feeling inspire. I use the weekend as my free days, but mostly for me that means not doing business matters until Monday. I still can write on the weekends, actually I do my best to, but I also allow for fun events to take me away from my desk.
By following these tips, you should have time to write that results in progress but also time to enjoy your life and your family and friends.
Share your tips for a productive writing session and having a life outside of writing.
Coming June 5th!
Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You From Idea to Publication
by Chrys Fey
Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!
Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
* Spark One: Being a Writer
* Spark Two: Story Essentials
* Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
* Spark Four: How To
* Spark Five: Character ER
* Spark Six: Editing
* Spark Seven: Publishing
* Spark Eight: Marketing
* Spark Nine: Writing About
* Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.
About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.
Do you have any questions for Chrys? How do you schedule your writing time?