Making time in your day for writing is incredibly difficult for a number of reasons, especially if you’re in full-time employment elsewhere. Even the small things such as noise, stress and concentration can have a marked effect on being able to knuckle down and just do it. However, the biggest drain on a writer in the modern day is time. It certainly was for me. I say was, because I think I’ve cracked the nut…
I’ve recently started employing an extremely simple, yet incredibly effective, rule: The 30-Minute Rule. Oh yes, imaginative name, I know. As someone who struggles to fit long blocks of writing time into my day, and often has a million other things going through my mind at any given moment, I came up with a method which suited me down to the ground.
It’s simple, really: I spend 30 minutes writing (usually from the top of the hour until half-past), then 30 minutes doing something else (reading, relaxing, housework, phone calls – anything which lets my mind elsewhere). Some downtime for your brain is absolutely vital.
What’s more, your brain needs to be able to do the other little things in life and deal with extraneous stresses and strains. How many times have you sat down at your keyboard only to have your mind filled with reminders to call Dave, put the washing on, order the groceries, pay the electricity bill, look for a new kettle… How great would it be to be able to simply jot these notes down on a pad and deal with them during their allocated half-hours? I’ll tell you something – it works.
This week alone, I’ve spent each day using this method and it has been my most productive week in living memory. I’ve been averaging 8,000-10,000 words a day on a book I’m collaborating on with a good friend and the words have just been flowing out of me. Writer’s block is history, as I know I’ll only be sat at this chair for 30 minutes at a time. Even if you only manage to write a couple of hundred words at a time, you’re always one step closer to finishing that novel.
Of course, the 30 Minute Rule can quite easily be the 2 Hour Rule or the 5 Minute Rule, depending on what works best for you. By ‘boxing off’ both your writing time and your external worries and chores, you can easily segment your brain to understand that this is writing time. You’ll be amazed how quickly the little grey ball of mush learns.
What tips do you have for ‘boxing off’ writing time and getting things done? Leave a comment in the box below and let me know!