Clear the decks!
If you want to start and finish a writing project —a story for The Little Bird Contest, or another project you've been considering — you need to actually make time for it, or it’s not going to happen.
I know that sounds obvious. But what does making time really look like?
You have to clear your calendar. This can be bracing, especially if you don’t have something to “prove” that you’re unavailable.
You must decide that writing is worth your time.
Get your calendar out right now, and get ready to be decisive.
1. Give yourself 2-3 hours per day to write.
You don’t need to clear these hours in your calendar forever (unless you want to) — but for a few weeks, you will need that time to focus.
Understand: you’re not going to squeeze writing into the little space that you have left in your already full life. You’re going to scale back on your already full life, for a fixed amount of time: let’s say, for one month.
2. Send regrets.
For the next few weeks, you will have to say no to some of the things that come up — a dinner party in the east end, a baby shower for that lovely woman at work, a coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen for months.
You’re going to write instead of doing these things. You can’t do both — it’s unreasonable to expect that from yourself. For the next month, say no.
3. Make cancellations.
You will also have to cancel and reschedule some appointments and dates that you’ve already made this month. Go ahead and do that now. Your friends and colleagues know you aren’t flaky; they will forgive you for this.
4. Keep life simple.
Resist the urge to schedule major life events during the next month. Do not plan a kitchen renovation, book a walking tour of Ireland, or adopt a new puppy during these cleared writing weeks. It’s tempting to think that you will be able to write and do these things: you won’t.
Congratulations!You just gave yourself the time you need to write! Now that you’ve cleared your calendar, your story has a chance to really take root and grow.
Do you feel a scary vacuum feeling, now that you have all of that white space in your calendar? Good. Now, go write. Fill that space with your story.