Monday, May 12, 2014

Make Time To Do What You Love

We all get the same 24 hours a day. We mark the passing seconds, minutes, and hours almost obsessively. Seriously, take a second to think about how many clocks you have in your house—wall clocks, watches, phones, computers, oven, microwave, alarm clocks. There’s a clock in your car, there are electronic roadside signs displaying the time. It’s craziness!

So why it is so hard to accomplish everything you NEED to do and everything you WANT to do each day? “Time got away from me” is a favorite saying of mine, but how can time escape my attention when I'm constantly reminded of it? Why do I feel like there is never enough time for me to WRITE?

“I must govern the clock, 
not be governed by it.” 

~ Golda Meir

You only get one life. Shouldn’t the majority of it be spent doing the things you love? Here are a few things I do in hopes of making that happen.


LibriVox  provides free audiobooks from the public domain that read by volunteers. How great is that?! Many classic books are available for download in several different formats; I have the app on my iphone, and I’ve listened to Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice during my commute to the day job. These are two books I’ve wanted to read for like… ever, and LibriVox made it possible. For free. And you can’t beat free, right?

I also subscribe to Audible and pay a monthly fee of $14.99, which gives me 1 credit every 30 days to download a current title. As much as I love physical books, I wouldn’t get to enjoy as many stories as I do if it weren’t for Audible. Now I listen to books while I’m cleaning the house, doing dishes, cooking dinner, driving to work, etc. 

“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.”

~ Charles Caleb Colton

Make use of the small blocks of time

There was a time, not so long ago, that I didn’t realize what I could accomplish during those 10 minute breaks I had at work, or the time I spent waiting during my son’s karate class. Now, during my breaks (thanks again to my iPhone) I read blogs, check emails, jot down ideas, and check my twitter & Facebook.

I have 45 minutes twice a week during my son’s karate class. That’s an hour and half a week, folks! When I was editing my WIP prior to querying, I sent a copy of it to my Kindle app so I could read and catch errors while sitting in the waiting area. Now I use it to brainstorm new story ideas.

“For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.”

~ Doug Larson

Put yourself first 

This is a big one, and it can be a toughie because we’re so used to making sure everyone else is taken care of before our own needs are met.  All you moms and dads with kids out there know EXACTLY what I mean.

Sometimes it’s okay to say NO to stuff.  No, this weekend the sleepover isn’t going to be at our house. No, this time you need to ask your friend’s parent for a ride to the mall. It really isn’t selfish to not do everything all the time. There must be some balance. Embrace it. Love it. Live it.

Treat writing like a job  

Even if you’re not paid to do it. My husband laughed at me the first time I told him that I work two jobs. He wasn’t trying to be mean or insensitive. He just didn’t get it at first. But when I began to take it seriously, he did too. Now, he respects the time I set aside for writing. But it had to start with me. Others won’t take you seriously if don’t give them a reason to.

Fact: writing is my second job. For now. One day, I hope will be my primary job. Why wouldn’t I treat it just as seriously as anything else I do?  Why should the thing I want most come second to everything else?  

Make a schedule if that works for you, but whatever you do, make it a priority. Don’t treat writing as something that can be pushed off to the side. 

 “Work is hard.
Distractions are plentiful.
And time is short.”

 ~ Adam Hochshild

I guess what it comes down to is that time isn’t going to find us; we have to make the time.  This may mean sacrifice, like watching less television or playing fewer video games (man, I love video games). Sometimes it means getting creative and finding ways to kill two birds with one stone, like listening to audiobooks while driving to the day job. 

In the end, we all choose what’s important to us and ultimately what we make time for.  Every time I choose to do something else over my writing, I ask myself if what I’m doing is more important.  Sometimes the answer is yes, but many times it’s no. Those are the times when I need to force my BICHOK (but in chair, hands on keyboard). 

Are the 24 hours we get each day enough for you?  Please share any tips you have to stretch the time and fit it all in.


  1. Thank you for writing this! I feel this. I get soooo it. Where do all those hours go? I need more than 24 hours! I stretch time by writing at night after everyone is asleep. I'm a night owl and insomniac so staying up late is no problem. It's the next day that makes that habit a hard one. And things that sound cool at 2 am totally aren't at 12pm. ;) But I do try to find the time. It's there, I just have to wrangle it a bit.

  2. Preach it, Cheryl! :-) I had to start scheduling my writing time, really working it out with family beforehand. It's the only way right now. And it's been working, because of EXACTLY what you said: You have to treat it like a job or no one else will.

    Also, I've started a new thing the last couple months that you will appreciate! Since my brain has started getting sluggish by 8 PM, I starting having 5 PM coffee. WHY haven't I been doing this all along!? :-)

  3. I LOVE this post. I'm horrible at making excuses or throwing my hands into the air and screaming there's just not enough time. Thank you for reminding me to make every moment count and to respect myself and my writing enough to give myself permission to make it a priority.