You’ve seen the blinders that racehorses wear to keep them focused on their own race, and not what’s going on around them, right?
Well, writers need them too. Significant others, children, day jobs, Netflix, the internet, chores! We all lead gloriously busy lives, and it’s not easy to get ten minutes of uninterrupted time. But that’s what you need for creating, so what’s a writer to do?
I hear it all the time, and this may be the biggest writer’s lament – no time, no focus.
I’m retired now, but I started writing when I still had a teenager at home. Believe me, I had all of the above, and still managed to write a book a year (I had 3 completed before I sold), so I have some tips for those still in the trenches:
- Develop a schedule. Yes, it will get disrupted sometimes, but eventually it becomes habit, and it seems odd not to do it. I am a morning person, so I squeezed writing in before anyone was up. I got up two hours early every day to write – the house was shrouded in darkness, and my desk lamp was my oasis – the light in a quiet world to create. Now, I’m not suggesting you get up at 3 am every morning (though I’m proof you won’t die if you do). Night person? Wait until everyone’s in bed and sneak in words.
- Hold your boundaries. Your writing time should be as sacrosanct as a closed bathroom door – no one interrupts unless there is a fire or copious blood is being shed.
- YOUR distractions.
- This is where the blinders come in. Turn off the internet. Silence your phone. Butt in chair. Something will come. It always does. The hardest part is the act of sitting.
- Focus on your own race. It’s easy to get distracted by the success of others–we all dream of getting there. And dreaming is fine, but NOT during your writing time!
- Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t worry/plan about getting an agent, selling a screenplay, or how much money you’ll make (or not make) from your writing. None of that will matter IF YOU DON’T FINISH IT!
I’m not saying this is easy. But you didn’t begin writing because it was the easiest thing, did you? My guess is that you did it because it fulfilled something in you.
Focus on that, put your butt in the chair.
It’ll happen. I promise.