At the most basic level, who is in charge of you? Writers often neglect their own actual needs regarding writing time and the use of their writing space.
“I’m too busy.”
Look, I know that carving out writing time for those who have a day job, or small children, or anything resembling a real life, is nearly impossible. Nearly.
Which type of writer are you?
The Professional is expected to write just about every day of the week and actually makes money at it. They often own a desk.
The Aspiring Writer must juggle a desire to write with an actual true source of income that surely intrudes upon their writing time.
And The Hobbyist thinks writing is fun and dabbles here and there but has not and may never attempt any serious publication.
I am an Aspiring Writer who has retired from 30 years of teaching. My real job now is a combination of cooking and cleaning, running errands, painting on commission, coaching other writers, freelance editing, and actively listening when my loved ones want to communicate. I still want to be traditionally published. I want it bad.
Writers who seriously pursue this part of themselves must make writing a ritual, a scheduled, sacred thing. A section of the day or week must be dedicated to nothing other than pure, uninterrupted writing. My own writing time is committed to two mornings per week, a total of 6-10 hours, which involves blogging, creating content for entire books, querying agents, and research. Even those specific tasks are planned in order to avoid a lot of chaos or indecision.
6-10 hours each week can generate plenty of content and movement over the course of a year, and still allows me 160 hours to tackle the rest of my life.
When the writers I coach say they cannot find time, I respond, “Make time.”
Create a Space.
A sacred, desirable space is crucial to the writing life. Everyone in the home must be aware that this is that space. It is your space. You matter. Your writing matters. This might require a dose of self-esteem and conviction.
Even if you live alone, you must understand that this space is important and should not be muddled with your other spaces. You must decide that this space is something worthy of your attention.
Comfort and Order is First.
Be sure to have the ergonomics of comfort and bodily support. Back, neck and wrist pain is not a writer’s friend. I sit on a leather couch with a foot stool, a table next to me, and my laptop. I have a blanket over my feet and a pillow in my lap to raise the computer to a proper height. I always have a satisfying, nonalcoholic beverage. Always.
Good lighting matters. And I do not eat while I write. I reward myself with a meal after I write. I always wash my eyeglasses and hands first. Sometimes I put a heating pad on my shoulders. I nurture myself, so I am conditioned to love the experience of writing.
I take a couple small 10 minute breaks to stand, move and clear my head, which invites time to think. I tend to fold laundry or stand in the yard and ponder the power of the gods. Then I get back at it.
I love silence, but occasionally I play instrumental music. I know that music with lyrics would completely ruin me. If someone phones, I let them know it is my writing time and will call them back.
When I am done writing for the day, I clear the space, putting everything away. This ritual means the writing time is complete, but I know full well when I will write again.
If you want to be a writer, you must decide that you are a writer and then act like one.