You’re all set now when it comes to weekends. You know how to to get writing done on Saturdays and Sundays whether you want to work weekends or not.
But weekends only make up two out of the seven days in every week. So what are you supposed to do during the week, when you have places to be, other people to answer to and ideas begging to be worked on the first chance you get?
We’re so very glad you asked.
Here’s how to get writing done on your own time, outside of work, school or whichever obligations are keeping you away from your projects for long periods of time.
You have to plan ahead (really)
You’ll notice this is a common tip here when we talk about getting something done with limited time available to do it in. You may not be a planner or organized or willing to schedule things out ahead of time, but if you’re going to get writing done on top of everything else, you’re just going to have to suck it up and do it anyway!
Before you wake up in the morning (because you will be tired and not in the mood to think of it then), you need to sit down and figure out what needs to get done tomorrow. One smaller piece of work already laid out in your mind (sort of like laying your clothes for the next day out before you go to bed) is a lot easier on your brain than you might think.
It will help you. Here’s why.
Consider the clock and pick your poison
Once you know what you have to get done, the next step is choosing when … and sticking to it.
If you’re going to be gone all day and won’t have a chance to sit down and write, you have two choices: wake up early and get your writing done before you start the rest of your day, or stay up late and get your writing done after all other tasks for the day are over and done with.
Basically, you’re going to be fighting a bit of sleepiness regardless of when you write. It doesn’t mean you have to give up sleep to do it (often). But you’ll be writing early in the morning when you’re pouring coffee down your throat just to wake up or you’ll be struggling to keep your eyes open to finish the last few paragraphs after the sun goes down.
Sacrifices. All writers make them. You won’t be sorry you did.
Keep track of what you’re getting done
(For the record, I just started doing this at the beginning of the year and it has completely changed the way I think about my writing productivity.)
Again, you might not be quite as type A as the next writer who stumbles upon this post. Keeping track of what you’re getting done every day, at first, does sound a little obsessive.
Until you think about how obsessed we already are with numbers, and charts, and adding things up.
Keep a little notebook or a note-taking app. Record how many pages or words or articles or blog posts you got done today, whichever way satisfies your subconscious the most. And then do the same thing again tomorrow. And the next day.
Now here’s why this actually matters.
Come Sunday night, you’ll be chest-deep in all the dread most of us associate with Monday. You’ll already be tired and the week won’t have even started yet. Just the thought of having to write, and work, and study, and everything else, won’t make you feel any better.
But then you’ll turn to that notebook or app and be able to look back on all the words and articles and pages you wrote the week before, even on Monday. And you just might think to yourself, “Wow. I did that? Maybe I can do it again this week.”
Chances are, you will.
Writing consistently is rough. Things get in the way. But deep down, you want this. You want it enough to make it work, no matter the day of the week.
Image courtesy of Elvert Barnes/flickr.com.