Hour glassIn all the craziness of my life, I forgot to write a blog for today (talk about practicing what I’m about to preach, she says sheepishly)! Last night I had such fun sitting on a panel with authors Pam Mingle and Donna Cooner to talk about YA lit. Our books were all finalists for the Colorado Book Award (Pam’s wonderful book, Kissing Shakespeare won) and there was a wonderful crowd of writers, both young and old.

One of the questions that came up was one we hear (and ask) all the time: How do you find time to write? What do you do when it feels like the universe is conspiring against you and your writing time?

I’ve talked about this topic before, most recently in an April Friday Focus called Is Your Writing a Priority? But I think it’s worth repeating–frequently–because it’s so easy to let writing slide as other things clamor for our attention. Here are three steps I recommend to ensure you get the writing time you need and deserve:

  1. Honor yourself as a writer. This is one of the biggest obstacles I’ve encountered for writers not making time to write. Everything and everyone comes first and then it’s the end of the day and you haven’t written a word. You MUST honor yourself as a writer or no one else will. This may require some serious retraining of those in your life, especially your family, who may have come to see you as always available. Explain your new plan and schedule. Stand firm and they’ll get it after awhile.
  2. Set up writing appointments.  I talk about this in that Friday Focus. I’ve been doing it for several weeks now and it’s working out pretty well. But this isn’t just an exercise in adding something to your calendar. You must keep these appointments as you would any other appointment and schedule other things around them, rather than scheduling your writing around everything else in your life. And if something legit comes up, reschedule your writing, preferably for the same day if possible.
  3. Plan for the unexpected. What? How can you plan for something you don’t know is coming? By preempting it. That’s right. Get up before everyone else does and WRITE. Even if it’s just 15 minutes earlier. DO IT. That way, if you have scheduled time and can’t write because of an emergency (a real one, not just that you passed your bathroom and decided it needed cleaning or you really should get to that stack of magazines beside your bed), you’ve already done some writing that day.

You are the only one who can decide to write and then do it. Make it. Honor it. Protect it. Now go!