Finding time to write

643023In theory, writers love to write. In reality, it’s much more difficult than that.

Let’s face it: Writing is hard. Not only the act itself, but everything that comes with it; the frustration, distractions, dry spells of ideas and, of course, finding the time. This can often be the most difficult thing at all. Writing takes time; and in this world, none of us have very much of it.

Being a writer takes a great deal of commitment. The fact is, if you want the time to write, you have to make that time. If you wait for a ‘good moment’ to come along, you are going to be waiting for some time. The following are some tips on how to get yourself writing regularly, thus being more productive, and more satisfied with your output.

1. Stop procrastinating.

You might be having trouble finding time to write because you are giving other things that can wait priority. When you get a free couple of hours, thinking, ‘I could write now, but I need to rearrange my bookshelf/tidy my desk/vacuum my car’ isn’t good enough. These are things that can probably wait, and do not need to take priority over your valuable writing time. Making the excuse that you are ‘uninspired’ or ‘not in the mood’ isn’t good enough either. Give yourself a push. Sit down at your computer or notebook and just get started. Once you’ve got a couple of word down, you might find you can’t stop. If your apathy does remain, don’t give up on yourself. You can always try again tomorrow.

2. Start writing every day.

Though it’s certainly easier said than done, one sure-fire way to make sure you are more productive is to get into the habit of writing every day. It doesn’t have to be for long; a few words while you’re having a cup of coffee in the morning, or during your lunch break; whenever you find a spare moment. You might think that having such little time means that it isn’t worth writing anything, but only writing little bits and pieces will soon build up. Alternatively, decide that you are going to set aside half an hour, at the same time every day, to write. Stick to it. It might be hard at first, but a little self-discipline and motivation and you’ll find yourself sitting down at your set time every day automatically. Most importantly, enjoy it

3. Read regularly.

The best writers are the best readers. If you are not reading regularly, how do you expect to expand your vocabulary and pick up new techniques from other authors? Reading will always provide you with inspiration, which will make you want to write. It’s much easier to find time for something when you really want to do it.

4. Rearrange your schedule.

If you go to bed and get up at the same time every day, change it. Either go to bed an hour or so later and give yourself that extra time to write, and, if possible, sleep in for an extra hour in the morning. Or vice versa; go earlier and awaken earlier. Whichever works better. Sleep is important, of course, but small sacrifices and changes to your daily routine may need to be made, if you really want that precious time to write.

5. Don’t tell yourself that if you can’t write thousands of words every day, then it’s not worth writing at all.

This is completely untrue. Just 500 words a day will keep your writing skills sharp, and, every day, you will feel a sense of accomplishment at getting something written. Over time, these small amounts will add up. True, it might not be possible for you to be as productive as somebody who has all the time in the world to write; but just remember, few of us are lucky enough to have that time. Most well-known writers, past and present, had or have day jobs. If they found the time to write their masterpieces, then so can you.

Finding time to write is just as much about making yourself write as it is making yourself want to write. If being a successful writer is your dream, you can’t just wait for the right time. You have to make it happen.

How not to quit smoking – book excerpt

643049

Have nails, need coffin

If I can cope with tough situations without a cigarette, and I get used to that early on, then I can cope with just about anything. Can, will.

If I gave up whilst life was easy and stress free, I might find it easier. I might find it easier to take a step back, take a deep breath. Take a moment. Keep focussed. I’m calm, I just need a cigarette.

I might go a month. A month smoke-free. Life is still low key and low on stress.

What happens when stress comes out of the blue?

What happens when something I wasn’t expecting comes up and bites me on the arse?

What happens when everything hurtles into my life at once and leaves me clinging to my sanity by my fingertips?

I’ll remember how smoking used to help with stress.

I might be an ex-smoker. But just one won’t hurt. One to cope with the stress.

I’ve never had to cope with real stress without a cigarette before.

I take a puff on my friend’s smoke.

I later decide I want more. I apologetically ask a stranger on the street for a cigarette, trying not to wither with guilt and embarrassment as he begrudgingly opens his packet of Marlboro Lights. Not my favourite, but any brand will do right now.

I get home. All evening I’m losing my mind. Cigarettes. Smoke. I want to smoke a ****ing cigarette.

It’ll just be the one packet, I tell myself as I head down the shop. I won’t tell anyone. Just this one, I’ll smoke them slowly, then I’ll give up again. No one needs to know I faltered, had this delightful little moment of weakness. It’ll be my guilty secret. I’ll be smoke free again as soon as this packet is gone.

By the next evening I’ve finished, or am close to finishing, the packet. I’m an addict once more. I’m angry with myself, I’m feeling guilty. I feel worthless for not being able to keep it up. People know I’m smoking again. They smelt it on me. They are disappointed. ‘I mean, it’s your life man, but you were doing so well…’

I’m upset now.

So I buy another packet of cigarettes.

I’m a smoker again.

I’m an addict.

And I’ve been ever since I took that one puff on my friend’s cigarette to chill out.