No Time Your Best Fake Excuse To Avoid Writing

No Time Your Best Fake Excuse To Avoid Writing

After a​ full day of​ work,​ family and life,​ you fall into bed exhausted. Mentally ticking off your to-do list,​ you cycle through shopping lists,​ phone calls,​ appointments,​ feeling good about what you have gotten done,​ until you get to​ the​ thing you really want to​ do. You lay there,​ bathed in​ regret – why didn’t you get your writing done today? You vow to​ do it​ tomorrow. You will make time for your novel or​ that article you know would sell. You consider angles,​ write a​ few lines in​ your head,​ and fired up with enthusiasm for your writing,​ you fall asleep. the​ next day continues on​ much like the​ one before and you live the​ life of​ an​ unfulfilled writer,​ all because you do not do the​ simple work of​ making time to​ write.

The task of​ finding and dedicating time for your writing can be daunting. Many people who want to​ write identify this as​ the​ number one challenge – finding time. How can you give yourself more time when there are a​ limited number of​ hours in​ the​ day plus housework,​ family,​ a​ job,​ and other personal or​ professional obligations to​ fulfill? You can’t create more hours in​ your day but you can restructure the​ ones you have to​ make more time for your writing. as​ a​ writer and a​ coach for writers,​ I have identified some of​ the​ reasons behind the​ challenge and offer some ways to​ get around the​ lack of​ time excuse.

Often the​ “lack of​ time” is​ really a​ mask for writing fears. the​ work of​ writing,​ while satisfying,​ can be difficult to​ make time for. we​ put it​ off to​ do the​ easier things,​ the​ things we​ know how to​ do. Think about the​ things you do when you are procrastinating getting to​ the​ writing. Do you clean,​ cook,​ or​ exercise? Do you spend your valuable writing time reading or​ watching TV? the​ act of​ writing challenges us to​ dive into ourselves and come out with something tangible. This is​ not easy. Notice when you are resisting and when you really do not have time to​ write.

There are a​ limited number of​ hours in​ the​ day,​ but often we​ give away our passion and power by forgetting that we​ can always choose what to​ do with our time. I can hear you saying,​ “Well,​ I have my job,​ and then I have my family,​ and kids,​ and all these other obligations.” Your roles become more powerful than you are because you believe you have no choice in​ the​ matter. Certainly dinner needs to​ be served. Certainly you have other commitments that you need to​ honor. But who decided that your writing wasn’t as​ important as​ everything else? What would life be like if​ your passions had a​ place in​ the​ schedule as​ well? What difference would it​ make to​ the​ people in​ your life if​ you staked a​ claim for your writing? Hmmm...

With the​ help of​ a​ perspective shift,​ you may realize that your writing is​ important,​ too. Perhaps in​ your mind it​ has been important,​ but you haven’t taken that extra step to​ actually make space for it. Without space,​ your writing becomes a​ burden on​ your back,​ something you want to​ do but can’t. You then become a​ victim of​ your life. No fun.

Look at​ the​ following ways to​ restructure your time both internally and externally. Then try out a​ few of​ them and see what works for you.

Get in​ the​ habit of​ writing in​ short bursts of​ time. Give yourself ten,​ fifteen,​ or​ twenty minutes to​ write and then learn how to​ make the​ most of​ those bursts of​ writing. This means sidestepping the​ wandering or​ procrastination that distract you from writing.

Wake up early. Set your alarm twenty minutes early and give yourself that time to​ write. if​ the​ thought of​ getting up earlier makes you cringe,​ try giving yourself time at​ the​ end of​ the​ day.

Do you watch TV? Give it​ up and give yourself more time to​ write. Many people use TV as​ a​ way to​ zone out and relax at​ the​ end of​ the​ day,​ but isn’t there a​ better way to​ relax and be entertained? Yes! Use your writing to​ relax. Which leads me to...

Reframe the​ way you think about writing. of​ course the​ art of​ writing is​ work,​ but if​ you think of​ it​ as​ drudgery and something that requires a​ lot of​ you,​ you are missing out on​ the​ rejuvenating aspects of​ the​ practice.

Whenever you do get a​ chance to​ write,​ take a​ minute when you are finished and write down three words that describe how you feel after writing. Use these words as​ a​ lure to​ get you to​ the​ page when you feel tired or​ uninspired.

Take part of​ your lunchtime to​ write. Or,​ use your allotted coffee or​ smoke breaks to​ slip away from work and scribble a​ few lines.

The real issue is​ often time management. we​ may have enough time but do not use it​ in​ a​ way that honors our priorities. What are your priorities? if​ you are not showing up for your writing,​ maybe it​ isn’t a​ priority. What else is​ going on​ in​ your life that is​ more compelling than writing? Take a​ moment now to​ jot down where you spend your time. What do you notice about your priorities?

Once you have a​ clear picture of​ where your time goes,​ how do you feel about it? Does the​ way you spend your time reflect what is​ important to​ you? Work and other obligations seem more fixed and indeed they may be for now,​ but where else can you make decisions to​ get writing into your life?

Perhaps your topic or​ project isn’t seductive enough. I have been working on​ the​ same project for years now,​ and there were times when I just wasn’t interested. I gave myself a​ break,​ knowing that I would come back to​ it. Now I have an​ angle on​ it​ that is​ compelling and fun and I am more eager to​ make time for it. How can you approach your project in​ a​ way that would entice you to​ make time for it? How do you find a​ writing project that earns your time and attention?

Play with an​ entirely new perspective. Let go of​ the​ idea of​ you as​ a​ writer. Perhaps now that you are clear about how you spend your time you are happy with it. Maybe you have realized that you really don’t want to​ make the​ effort to​ write at​ this point after all. How free would you feel if​ you let yourself off the​ hook for having the​ writing urge and not having the​ time to​ indulge it?

Try a​ tool I use with my clients. Imagine giving up writing,​ and the​ idea of​ writing. I call it​ ‘taking away the​ bone.’ Think of​ a​ dog with a​ bone. Imagine trying to​ grab the​ bone from the​ dog’s mouth. the​ dog will hang onto that bone for dear life. if​ the​ thought of​ losing your writing urge makes you want to​ grab onto it​ even tighter,​ it​ could be a​ signal that you need to​ do what it​ takes to​ make writing a​ priority in​ your life. Commit to​ yourself as​ a​ writer,​ get clear about your writing projects,​ and let it​ happen.

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