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How do writers find time to write?

A fellow writer/fan emailed me this question a few weeks ago, and I thought I’d share my answer here:

QUESTION: How do you manage to keep the writing momentum going while also working full time? That’s what I struggle the most with these past couple of months. I haven’t been writing on a regular basis for a long time… This is sad. To be honest, I’m in a slump! Work (professionally speaking) drains me. Family life keeps me really busy. There’s also the house to look after, the walks with the dog (they’re fun, though), our social activities, etc. Argh. It’s really hard to find some quality time to write. Usually I do it late at night, but recently I have been “brain-dead”and have been watching movies instead… Procrastination and lack of discipline seem to be my best buddies. How do you do it Robyn, I mean, how do you keep writing regularly without losing the momentum?

I really need to kick myself in the butt!

MY ANSWER: Ah, you ask a good question, my friend. And I definitely struggle with it. This past summer, I found myself putting my creative work last on the list, which was NOT a good thing for me to do. So back on August 19, I started my disciplined “boot camp,” as I call it. Up at 5am every day. I work on the novel from 5am to 7am. Then I work out, shower, get dressed and face my “second” work day (the one that pays the majority of the bills at the moment). When I’m lucky, I get to work on the novel some more in the afternoon. But that’s gravy. The 5am to 7am is a must.

I think it’s just a matter of discipline. Kinda like training for a marathon. You just need to put in the reps. So my suggestion would be this: could you get up even 30 minutes earlier than you are now and write? Maybe not every day of the week–even 30 minutes of writing three days a week will add up. If that’s not doable, what about your lunch hour (do you get an hour)? Could you bring your lunch to work and then close the door (or go some place with a door) and write for 30 minutes?

Once you get back into a rhythm, you’ll probably find that you’re eager to get back to the page…and then you’ll be creating all sorts of time for the writing. I find that happens with me, especially when I’m deep into a work, as I am now.