Got a novel inside of you and think you don’t have the time to write it? Here are five ways to make time to get your bestseller written.
You’ve got a novel inside you, and unless you opt for getting it surgically removed, the only way to get it out of you is to sit down and actually write it. The most commonly heard excuse from potential novelists however is the old line of ‘but I just can’t find the time’. If you’re not bothered about getting that story out of your head and onto paper, then fine, that excuse is as good as any, but if you actually want and need to write your book, then you’re going to have to find a way to get it done.
Firstly, don’t expect to rattle it off in a week. Writing a novel is a long process, and once you commit to it, you’re going to be inside that story for a long old time. Short of giving up work (and life, and family), you’re going to have to put some effort in and sacrifice some time elsewhere in your life.
Get up early
Most people hate this idea, but it can be done, and once established, you’ll find it an effective and pleasurable routine. Try to trick your brain into thinking ‘it’s not that early’ by setting your alarm just five minutes earlier each day. Get up, wake up, and jot down whatever you can of your story. You’ll find that with minimal interruptions, no phone, no kids or house callers, you’ll be able to concentrate fully on your novel. Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, gets up at 4am each day to work on his bestselling works, before going to work as a medical practitioner.
Write and commute
If you commute to work by public transport, you can turn a long journey into valuable writing time. Grab a seat (if you can) and start writing. You’ll soon find that the often hellish journey becomes your sanctuary, somewhere to wind down at the end of the day and a place to get the brain working before work. Fantasy author Peter V. Brett used his subway commute to compose his 100,000 word novel The Warded Man on his smart phone, which was published by Del Ray Books in 2009. Even if you drive to work, how about using a Dictaphone or smart phone to record your novel so you can type it up later?
Meal times (or coffee breaks) are a great time to get away from the pressures of work and dive into your own personal story. Use all the time available to you to crack on with writing that novel and developing your character. Some days you might not feel like writing, but you can use the time just to think about your story, have a conversation with your characters, and just bathe in the calm waters of your imagination.
Ditch your TV
‘Impossible!’ I hear you cry. ‘How would I know what celebrities were in the jungle?’ Ask yourself what’s really worth watching on TV? Do you get home at night, turn it on and zonk out? Try putting it away in the closet for a week and measure how much you actually get done. You’ll find that the evenings stretch out in front of you forever and you get round to doing that list of things you said you never have time for. So after you’ve alphabetized the fridge magnets, washed the hamster and put nametags on all the kitchen utensils, guess what? You can crack on with that novel!
Divorce the Internet
Once you’ve finally sat down at your PC, made your coffee, and positioned your desk so that everything is at right angles (or is that just me?), TURN OFF THE INTERNET. You’ve been there: ‘I’ll just check my email. And myspace. And facebook. And twitter…’ The internet is a time sucker, and you’ll find that you get much more done without it. Dave Gorman found that in his effort to write a novel, the internet distracted him so much that he found himself in an international game, as told in Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure.
The trick to getting your novel written is to look at your life, and carve out some time that you can call yours and yours alone, where the distractions of daily living can be avoided, and once you’ve found that time (be it fifteen minutes, an hour, or a day) maximise it, and don’t let anything interfere with it. Make time to write your story, because if you don’t, no one else will.