In my mind, this is the most important resolution, the bedrock for everything else, making it the perfect way to close our month on writing resolutions. After all, without carving out time to write, there’s no novel to send to agents, or stories to submit to journals, or rough drafts to offer a writing community. But as we all know, finding time to write is easier said than done.
Last year, Teresa R. wrote in asking specifically about time management techniques, ways to make time to write. The most important time management skill for me is the ability to say “no,” though it’s something I have to continually work at. Sometimes I have a hard time separating out what I want to do and what I feel compelled to do. It makes it easy for people to take advantage of my time, so I’ve gotten good at knowing who my real friends are. So “yes” to the rare babysitting request from my best friend. “No” to coffee with the passive-aggressive frenemy. Instead, I haul my laptop to the coffee shop and work on my novel. (I keep the poem, “The Art of Disappearing” over my desk to remind myself that it’s OK to say “no.”)
Of course, it’s not always so cut and dried. For that reason, I try to write first thing in the morning. It’s a time when people don’t generally ask you for favors, when the phone doesn’t ring. It causes my paying work to extend a little later each day, and this means that I’m not always available for other things in the evening. I try to order my day around my writing; this way I don’t have to think about making writing a priority: it’s built into my life. Anyway, this is what I aim for.
Other people have suggested writing by hand to avoid the Web, or working in a place that doesn’t have the Internet. Friends who write in the evenings turn off their phones while they work (could this be more important?). A poet I know negotiated with his employer to work longer every day and take Fridays off. A novelist friend worked out the same deal for Wednesday mornings.
But there are so many practical ways to make better use of time.