Balancing Your Double Life

You now have an idea for a story and the motivation to work on it, but you have one problem: you don’t have time to work on it! How on earth can I fit writing into my already busy schedule? How can I balance writing with work? Never fear! The answer is here.

You have to make the time! Now, I know what you’re thinking, I can’t make time for anything! Well, actually, you can. So, you might not be able to write every single day. I can’t do that, my writer friends can’t do that, most people who don’t write full time can’t do that. Instead, you need to schedule.

If you know that you don’t have a ton of time on Mondays, don’t plan on writing then. If you know that you have to be somewhere every morning at nine, use that morning time beforehand to write. Yes, you will probably have to get up a bit earlier than you normally would. But if you’re committed to writing, then getting up earlier will be worth it. If mornings really aren’t an option for you, then plan on writing in the evenings. Take that time you normally spend on Facebook or Netflix in the evenings and put it towards writing. You don’t have to give up everything, just carve out time a few times a week to work. Weekends are excellent.

If you don’t have a job, or just have more free time than most people, you might consider setting definite word goals. But how do you do this without overloading yourself? Here’s a quick way to figure out how much you can write in a week.

  1. Get a timer. Set it for 10 minutes.
  2. Write about anything for 10 minutes
  3. When the timer goes off, count how many words you have. (If you’re writing by hand, count pages)
  4. Round your word count.
  5. Figure out roughly how much time you can spend writing each week.
  6. Multiply your word count by your possible writing time.
  7. Round whatever number you have.
  8. Try and write that much every week.

I write in 30 minute bursts. I can write about 500  words in half an hour. I spend 7-10 hours a week writing. That’s 7,000 to 10,000 words a week. I only aim for 7,000. That way, if I write more than that I feel really good about myself.

If you want to go even further, take your weekly word goal and multiply it by four. Now you have a monthly word goal. If you haven’t reached the stage at which you’re actually writing your story, devote the same amount of time to plotting, interviewing characters, researching, and whatever else you’re doing to prepare yourself for writing.