5 Ways To Always Be Ready To Write

Writing while working, adulting, caring for tiny humans, and running a household often means jotting down sentences between appointments, lunch hours, school pickups, or after the kids are in bed. You know, that one part of the day you have to yourself when all you want to do is to binge watch the latest season of Orange Is The New Black and fall into a chocolate coma.

Instead, you dedicate those precious breaks to writing. But thanks to busy lives and social media, best-laid plans to craft words often gets pushed to the side. When that happens, getting creative with how you organize your writing time can mean adding to your word count rather than chasing it.

1) Make Scheduling Your Friend

Not only do you write, nowadays you also have to tweet about. Creating and maintaining a social media presence is important when you’re selling books or working toward that dream. But if there’s no organization, you’ll find yourself moaning on Facebook about your low word count because you were too caught up checking Facebook to scribble down more than a paragraph.

One way around this is to schedule some or all of your posts, keeping you active on social media but also away from social media so you’re free to write.

  • Share It. Instagram, Facebook, WordPress and Twitter all share to each other, so once you post through one, you can automatically send it to the others without having to visit each platform separately.
  • Schedule It. Facebook has a schedule feature so you can post your content or share favorite blogs when you’re not in reach of your phone or computer. You can even use specific apps like Hootsuite or Buffer to share posts when it suits you (yes, even while you’re in that chocolate coma!).

Another thing to schedule is your writing time. Although I’ve failed to add regular exercise as a non-negotiable appointment to my day, I do ensure that I write, even if it’s only for ten minutes.

2) Work To A Plan

If you’re going to be scheduling things, it’s much easier when you know what you’re doing. Planning what you’ll write or post each week makes it a cinch to start working as soon as you sit at your keyboard.

  • Keep It Light. Either plan for the day ahead or the whole week, but that’s it. Restricting your plans to a short time frame means you’ll spend fewer minutes planning and even less time feeling overwhelmed.
  • Small Details. Note down your tasks in simple terms you can read at a glance. “Write a new blog post” or “edit chapters 10-13″ is all it takes.

Having a solid plan, even a basic one, helps you gain control of your time and use spare minutes to their full advantage, working on what you need to, instead of working out what you have to do.

3) Beat The Clock

Time is a tricky thing. It can make you think you have all day to get something done but slip by so fast you make no progress at all. If you constantly find yourself getting distracted when you write, then a timer may help.

  • Use The Pomodoro Technique. I’ve talked about this here. It’s setting a timer and writing for twenty-five minutes straight before having a break for five.
  • Keep On Track. While using a timer prompts you to get out of your chair, it can also lead to twenty-five minutes of work and then an hour of “internetting”. Use this tip from Madeline Bartson’s awesome blog post and make your break an activity away from the screen.

Some writers might balk at stopping and starting when you write, but if you find yourself in the flow of things, just keep going. One thing I love about the Pomodoro Technique is it forces me to focus and start my task, and that’s what you want.

4) Blast Small Tasks In Bulk

A great way to write more is setting aside one day to bulk blast the small tasks that would otherwise steal portions of your daily time. Once a month I will sit at my computer with a TV show playing in the background (Friends, Seinfeld, or The Big Bang Theory) and…

  • Put together four weeks worth of graphics for Instagram (I use Canva).
  • Backup. My computer does automatically backup certain folders, but I’m prone to saving drafts to my desktop so I regularly check that I’ve saved everything properly and/or moved it to the right place.
  • Source and size blog images (I use Pixabay).
  • Transfer notes made on my phone for blogs posts, story ideas, or lines of dialogue for my WIP, and add them to their respective Scrivener files.
  • See what I’ve bookmarked as read later/share and decide what I want to schedule for upcoming posts.
  • Revise the long goals. This is when I look at what I planned in January to achieve by June that I have to move to December because I’m still not ready/able.

5) Time Out To Avoid Burn Out

Now I know the point of these tips is to help you write more, but you can’t do that if you’re burnt out.

Trying to write or stay part of the writing community every spare second is exhausting. Just as the weekend gives a break from work-week stress, you need a time out from writing too.

  • Keep your weekends free for family or social activities.
  • Don’t post to social media on Sundays.
  • If you write full-time during the week, take a regular afternoon off to walk or grab a tea/coffee/hot chocolate at a local cafe.
  • Don’t work past 3 pm.
  • Put your phone away at 8 pm every night.

Or do whatever works for you to be able to step away from writing-related activities for a portion of your week. While it might be your goal to live and breathe this whole writing life, it’s also a major stress. Once it becomes a chore, that’s when most writers give up. Keep yourself organized and allow yourself a break when you need it. That way, when you have the time, you’re always ready to write.

— K.M. Allan

39 thoughts on “5 Ways To Always Be Ready To Write

  1. I’m big on scheduling. One of the tricks I learned is to write the old fashion way: Pen and paper. I don’t always advise this but it keeps me away from the computer which leads to other distractions.

    Finding time and being ready is, in may ways, a tougher challenge than creating a story but somehow we do it. It’s our nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’re so sweet, K.M., thank you for linking to my post, I really appreciate it! 🙂 All of these tips are gold. I really feel what you’re saying about complaining on social media about not having enough time to write while spending all your free time on social media haha. I’ve been thinking about trying to schedule some tweets, and I think this is the push I needed. Getting small tasks done all at once is a really good idea, too. And I need to get better about putting my phone away at night and just unwinding. I’m definitely bookmarking this post for later!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Madeline. I loved your post. Your tip about taking the break away from the screen has really helped me curb my habit of getting distracted by the internet 😅. I’ve just recently started scheduling the blogs I share on Facebook (one of which was your blog post earlier this week), and I’m kicking myself for not doing it earlier. It’s super easy and has taken away some of the stress about trying to remember to post something.

      Like

  3. Great post! I do a lot of these and it really helps. I’m someone who lives by my to do list, and I keep my full time job, uni work, boring household duties and writing tasks all on one list to try and manage it effectively. This list is so essential and offers some great tips, which I’m certain will help lots of writers, me included! 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ruth Miranda

    number 4: please, come work for me. I need you. My graphs need your scheduling ability. I only ever remember I need new graphs for social media when… I RUN OUT OF THEM! And then it’s stress, stress, stress trying to find images, quotes from my novels, catchy captures, whatever I can to make it work in like, five minutes because I need it asap to post on instagram, seeing my folder is empty and I have nothing to post. GAH! I am not an organised person at all. But because I write full time, I tend to need to force myself out of the writing – so I can get some exercise done, or take a break. The one thing I know keeps me out of writing is the occasional mind num. I tend to get mind numb once in a while, like every 2 to 3 months? maybe less. It’s a state where I can only jot down basic lines and my work does suffer from it. Because I’m the kind of writer who cannot write if the right sentence, the right words don’t come, I never feel prompted to write doing mind numbs. It’s very hard to explain this to people who work differently from me, especially with that theory of the first draft not having to be perfect but having to just be. Not for me. The first draft HAS to be perfect, in that moment, those words have to be the right ones for the ideas to flow from brain to finger to screen. Obviously it will need some work later on, a bit of editing, correcting, a re-write or other, but if the CORRECT words don’t come at the time I’m writing – the correct words for that specific moment – I can’t write. And there’s nothing to do that changes this, I have phases like that, it’s who I am. But once Mercury turns retrograde, hell yeah, I’m back on that horse. One thing I wish I did more though, is knowing when to stop. Stop completely, get away from that desk, that laptop, that story altogether. I tend to push myself right on the verge of burnout, and that is terrible. But I do have a hard time breaking free of my writing and my work, which is funny, because I never saw myself as workaholic or work driven, until I started writing professionally full time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 😅 you’ll have to pay me in soda bread, Ruth. There’s been times when I’ve run out of images and need something to post too. That’s why I bulk organize now. I don’t need more stress 😄. I’ve been writing full time for four years and I feel like I work more now than when I was working full time and squeezing in writing. It can be exhausting when you’re holding yourself accountable to get things done. I can write when the words aren’t flowing how I want, but it puts me in a bad mood.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My respects for being able to tame your imagination to follow schedules! 🙂
    For me, it’s (and probably will always be) about unpredictable surges of imagination and making the best of them – even if it means making notes on the go.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. dharkanein

    Your tips are fabulous and I agree with what all you said. So e of them I do follow and rest am gonna add to my style so it’s easy for me. Thanks for this post, as if was sent to show me a way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You are definitely right about keeping up with all the social media and writing-related activities becoming a chore! Balance is so important, and I liked your tips on turning small tasks into bulk items – something I could do better.
    However, I disagree about pushing out the same post across all social media channels. I find it annoying when I see the exact same post appear simultaneously across every social media channel. To me, it just comes across as taking short cuts. There has to be a better way?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading, Marie 😊. I understand what you’re saying about sharing the same content on all platforms. I share some of the same things, such as my blog posts, to Facebook and Instagram because I have different audiences on both. I also post different things to each to add variety for anyone following both. I like to have some balance, but I also followed plenty of accounts that only post the same thing everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Nothing worse than pushing yourself to do something you’re not enjoying. I know there’s a few quotes out there that talk about how if the writer’s not feeling it, the reader won’t. I think that line of thinking ties in with being burnt out. If the writer is happy creating, the reader will be happy reading and vice versa.

      Liked by 1 person

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