One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who want to write but can’t is that they just can’t find the time. And I want so badly to laugh, because I’m like, ‘YoU tHiNk I hAvE tImE tO wRiTe?’ I don’t. Even without a 9-5 Real Job™️, there are chores to do, errands to run, social and family obligations to fulfill, self care to do to keep from going completely off my rocker, etc. So, how do you find time in a busy schedule?
The first thing, and this is going to sound harsh, and I don’t mean it to. You have to be absolutely truthful, because it’s not easy. How badly do you want to write? When you’re overworked, sometimes you need to rest, and that’s healthy. That’s got to take priority. When you’re stressed and it’s just easier to go along with someone else’s plan, that’s fine, do what you have to do.
But if writing is your therapy or god forbid, your job, you have to prioritise it. You have to carve out time. And sometimes that means other things don’t get done (not rest and self care. Rest and self care first, ALWAYS), or you have to put up boundaries and say no to people, or ask someone else to help you out. The reality is that there are only so many hours in a day and sometimes if some of those go to writing, they have to be taken away from something or someone else.
That out of the way, there is a method that I find helpful, when the schedule looks super packed, and it’s called the Pomodoro Method.
Basically, the Pomodoro Method is a system of time management cut into 25-minute chunks with a 10-minute break in between. This is like a High Intensity Interval Training workout for your brain. You focus super hard for 25 minutes, take a 10-minute break (stretch your wrists, get a drink, walk around), then hit it again.
This is super effective for me. I can get from 600-800 words in 25 minutes. It’s said that Terry Pratchett wrote 400 words a day, so I beat him every day. I work for two hours on a project from the hours of 5-7 am, so on a good day when I hit the ground running, I can get 3-4 Pomodoros in, which can be up to a maximum of 2400 words, which isn’t bad for a day’s work.
I like to combine my pomodoros with music, rain sounds, and scented candles. Even better if my cat is in a cuddly mood and I have a cup of coffee to sip in my breaks. It also sometimes helps to have a friend to add a bit of competitive pressure. I have a friend I meet with online every Friday at Stupid O’Clock in the morning. We have a chat, sprint (what it sounds like- a chunk of intense writing) for 30 minutes, compare wordcounts, say our talk-to-you-laters, and go about the rest of our days. It’s really nice and keeps me on track, for 30 minutes out of the week, if nothing more.
So, if you’re serious about writing and you just can’t seem to find the time, ask yourself, ‘can I find 25 minutes?’ Sometimes, that’s all you need.