Like spare change found in the cushion seats, finding and using some of the dead time in your day to squeeze in a bit of extra writing can make a real difference over time. It can also make it a bit more fun.
A while ago I chatted about why we sabotage ourselves; and referenced a study that shows that it’s often because we’re putting ourselves in a cage, and denying our animal instincts in the process. The animal who wants to be happy watching reruns of Frasier or Downton Abbey while breathing in mass quantities of chocolate peanuts and wine. Or is that just my inner animal?
Well, recently I had a look at my day and realised that there were a few little gaps of time that I could fit some quality writing time in – thus freeing more time for my Downton boxset other pursuits.
Finding spare time
The first one I found, was one that I’d been doing for a while anyway, which is to get to work earlier than anyone else so that I can squeeze out a chapter or so before the rest of my colleagues get in, and start the day with a credit, this also helped me to begin writing as a daily habit.
The second bit of unused time is the hour after I get home and start dinner. The obvious answer is to get my husband on board with my new and fabulous life as a busy novelist in the manner of Bella Andre who gets three square meals delivered to her writing desk by her mister but as I (as yet, ahem, grin) am not yet in Bella’s league, as I have :
A) Not yet published a book
B) Earned any extra dollars,
My hubby is not yet convinced. The cheeky bugger. Anyway, until then I am using that time productively. While the food is busy cooking or whatever the equivalent adjective for preparing diet food is (dying again seems apt), I write at the kitchen table mostly undisturbed. You’d be amazed at how much more you can squeeze in. I got two chapters in the other day (dinner was a tad late, but that’s not the worst thing in the world (see diet reference above). Then decided due to my continuing good work that I’d earned the rest of the night off. See, happy inner animal. While this may not work with busy parents, you may find that you uncover a spare ten minutes (I know I know, good luck, and chances are you’re probably using it for super important things like taking a cat nap while waiting for the microwave to ping) or so that you could use, every little bit does add up.
The other way I’ve found to use spare and unused time, and bear with me as it is rather ridiculous, and puts me in mind of the hysterical Louis Litt from Suits, or cornier still, an 80s movie with someone like Tom Selleck as the moustachioed romance writer … is to use a voice recorder or just your phone’s voice memos. I know I know and I’ve only done it once or twice … this week. But the possibilities are really amazing. Long car trips or commutes to and from work (so long as you’re alone), the bath (ditto) , walks (again by yourself). I have quite a long commute, and in the mornings there aren’t too many people on the roads to judge me too much for talking to myself. At least now with the voice recorder I have an actual excuse.
If you can, do try it – it takes a while to get over the feeling that it’s rather dorky, and it’s quite hard to narrate your story without a pen or keyboard. I have thus found a new respect for Barbara Cartland who supposedly narrated all her stories from her pink boudoir or pink writing den, whatever the case, we can be assured, it was pink. Either way it’s a great way to pin your story down or at least figure out the next steps in your novel. Also trying something new can be good for the creative flow as well.
Do you have any other tips or tricks to carve out more writing in your day? I’d love to hear them.
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