My friends are always amazed at how I can still fit in watching a ton of TV shows and devouring books despite the fact that I work practically 10 hours every day. I'm amazed too sometimes. So lack of time should not be my excuse for not being able to write for my personal book projects. It really is a matter of prioritizing it above other pursuits or distractions for a certain period of time.
One of the lingering lessons I learned from my recent WriteAwayPH writers' retreat is that we need to set appointments with our writer selves and that we need to keep these appointments no matter what. So I gave myself a couple of weeks after the retreat to get my mind and my desk and a few things in order before I officially start my daily appointment.
I'm just on Day 2 and so far, so good. I've written 1,000 words during my first official appointment. And I've blogged for two days straight! I'm dreading the days when I have so much to do everywhere else that I just might cancel on myself. But another lesson I'm learning is that I should be kind to myself during those days when I will fall short. And I know I will.
But here are a few tips that I've been learning about this "writer's appointment"
- Figure out what time of the day your brain is at its best and carve out your schedule around that time.
- Schedule at least an hour a day where you will do nothing but write. If you're a freelancer, you can actually do more. If you have a full-time job, schedule it before or after work or during your lunch break. If you can't do one hour straight, do 30 minutes in the morning then 30 minutes in the evening.
- Set a reminder on your phone or add it to your calendar. And as much as possible, don't schedule anything around that time.
- As much as possible, turn off any form of Internet when you're writing. Do your research some other time. In that one hour or 30 minutes, you will do nothing but write.
- Give yourself tiny rewards whenever you complete a certain number of words that you're targetting. It can be a tiny piece of chocolate, a few chapters of a book that you want to read, or a nice pen you've been eyeing.
- If you do miss an appointment, you can either make up for it during the weekend or when you have "extra" time during weekdays. But as I said, be kind to yourself.
- Don't treat this appointment as a chore you have to do, but rather as a fun task that you really want to do or as your "freedom time" if your day job is actually something really far from writing. As Elizabeth Gilbert said, be a trickster, not a martyr.
So are you ready to set that appointment with your writer self?