“I can’t find time to write.” If that’s you, then you’re not alone. Forces conspire against writers to prevent us from getting words on the page!
Maybe you can’t find time to write because you’re continually interrupted. Your social media app dings and you simply must check it. Your colleague in the next cubicle has a question about a project or your seventeen-year-old in the kitchen has a question about a snack. And you cannot let email accumulate unanswered, can you?
Or you can’t find time to write because you struggle with an honest-to-goodness time crunch. Your daily schedule is packed with raising kids, going to work, caring for elderly parents, running errands, and caring for your home.
Or you fight against your own limitations in order to find time to write. You’ve got oodles of creative ideas but you’re flooded by overwhelm and confused about where to begin. It’s easier to let Netflix – or even a cozy mystery novel – lure you into a good story and then, soon it’s time to turn out the lights and go to bed.
Interruptions, lack of time, and even your own creativity can hold you back when you’re trying to find time to write. Or do they? Check out these three writing myths that may stand in your way so you can fight back with the truth … and find time to write.
“Writing just happens.” That’s a myth.
The average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes, according to timesheet experts Dovico. That’s 50-60 times per day. Writing seems near-impossible in our distraction-laden world.
But not if you have a writing goal and you’re determined to reach it. A writing goal – like writing an article or posting on your blog once a week – is purposeful. And when you break your goal into steps, you can complete them one at a time, even when you are interrupted every 8 minutes.
You’ll accomplish this by embracing a scrumptious little secret shared by prolific writers through the ages: write in short bursts. Carve out 15 or 20 or 30-minute segments. Use those short bits of time to chip away at your writing goal. Writing in bursts works even when you’re besieged by 57 interruptions each day.
The point? If you want to write, spontaneity is a myth. Interruptions need not stand in your way. Count on being interrupted. And set a writing goal broken down into steps. Then plan purposefully to write in short bursts to accomplish each step … and reach your goal.
“Writing is easy.” That’s a myth.
The rise of the gig economy – short-term contracts and freelancing as opposed to permanent jobs – presents the illusion that writing is a get-rich-quick scheme. Plus, a handful of internet entrepreneurs have quickly skyrocketed to wealth. Their stories have become blogging and self-publishing legend, leading you to think writing is simple when you follow the perfect program or system.
The truth is that writing skills can be learned. And yes, you need to put in some time in order to acquire them. Programs and systems can help. But good writers know that acquiring skills are just part of the equation.
The other side of the equation is the battle against superficiality. Challenging life lessons give depth to your writing. Anyone who has been molded or bent or shaped or pummeled or whittled or forged by life’s twists or turns – and now has something to say about it – knows that those lessons are not easily gained, but hard-earned. Sharing them requires strength.
Writing is easy? Nah. The mechanics of writing become easier with practice and experience. But sharing your soul with strangers in words is never easy because it’s like taking your clothes off on paper. However, vulnerability becomes more rewarding the more I do it.
“A daily writing habit stifles creativity.” That’s a myth.
Good writers don’t simply sprout magical pens that produce glittering literature and perfect prose on the first draft. Creativity is a paradox. It blossoms when planted in the center of consistent habits.
Consider what happens when you develop other kinds of habits apart from a daily writing time. You brush and floss your teeth regularly, for instance, and your dentist appointments go more smoothly. That’s not “creative dental care.” Your habits prevent plaque build-up, and in many cases, prevent cavities.
Or what about good financial habits? You save part of each paycheck and soon you’re able to pay cash for big-ticket items like a new water heater or even a car. That’s not “creative financing.” It’s simply good sense.
When you set aside a specific time to write each day, you set up yourself for success. “All of us are creative to our core,” says Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit. “Some of us have been nurtured along the way and have made creating a habit.”Write regularly and then creativity becomes your habit – not a fleeting event.
You may need to get up early or go to bed late. You may need to eliminate something from your schedule, like drinking that extra cup of coffee with your news app or watching a favorite sitcom each evening. You may need to write when you didn’t plan to do so, like when the kids are napping.
“I can’t find time to write.” That’s a myth. The truth is closer to what Benjamin Franklin said: “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” Be diligent … and you’ll find time to write.
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