I’ve entertained a lot of questions while hosting my writing workshop and participating in author’s panels. A lot of folks ask this one, “How do you find time to write?”
Bookbub recently posted an interview with an author whose advice echoes my own, and it’s certainly worth revisiting if you’ve ever had times when it finding moments to write seems impossible.
Bookbub’s interview features Rachel Caine who writes at a similar pace as my own (though I still keep my full-time job’s security and stick mostly to the independent world, thus giving me more flexibility). While the article is titled, How to Juggle Several Books in Progress, it’s really a piece about time management which offers several pieces of great advice.
Caine’s first one is to “Calendar Everything.” I often say the same thing. I have a writing calendar for each year with my goals and also keep a long-term one to plot which books and stories I want to concentrate on in the future. Of course, it’s just a guide to help me prioritize life. Sometimes life gets in the way. That’s fine. Rearrange it all and continue.
She also talks about math and knowing what wordcounts she needs to hit for her deadlines. If you read my blog, you’ve seen me say to set goals, and for a variety of reasons. When you break up your project into smaller pieces and work towards manageable goals, you’ll write more, faster, and achieve success. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Often, my number one piece of advice (which Caine did not touch on) is to protect your writing time. Find a time and place to make your writing a habit and make sure that your family knows it must be an emergency to interrupt you–think of it like a small, part-time job. Yes, you are the boss, but the work needs to get done or the company goes under. Protect the time from interruptions (both family and personal… turn off your phone and even the internet if that’s what it takes to crowd out life’s noise and write for 15-60 minutes.)
Caine encourages outlines, staying focused, and finding a balance to stay healthy and keep writing with all of the plates spinning in the air. I think that’s especially important for Indie authors as most of us still have careers and other family and life commitments to maintain. Whether you have one book in the works (at any stage) or five, learning to spin plates/juggle books/herd cats is a skill that we all ought to work to perfect in order to stay healthy and keep writing!