Here’s a question for all of you here on WordPress… when do you find or make time to write?
Whether you write creative posts, opinion pieces or just updates on your life… I’m asking you, when do you write? Do you have a set time or do you just find time when you have it?
I’m finding it pretty tricky to make time, especially since I write primarily for fun. There’s no external negative consequence if I don’t post here or on my associated Instagram. I might lose some followers but I’m trying not to focus on the numbers at this point.
I keep convincing myself I don’t have time to write, so I don’t try. But then I find myself disappointed the day before a post is scheduled because I hadn’t written anything and magically find inspiration and energy to tap away at my keyboard late into the night. I just started University, and I know from high school experience that I don’t want to make a habit of doing things last minute. Writing a 1000 word essay the night before it’s due in high school is one thing, but a 2500 word essay the night before in University is not something I want to be forced to try.
When I started writing as keyboardphilosopher last year, I allowed myself a lot of time to research, draft and rewrite posts before they went up. Granted back then I had a lot of ideas, plenty of time before each post would go out, and I was using my blog as a method of avoiding working on aforementioned essays; but I want to maintain that amount of care in my blog posts now and in all future work.
Reflecting on my late-night quests to finish work has shown me that I do have time to write if I really want or need to. If I can magically find time to write the night before something is due, I could probably find time in the weeks before to make at least some progress. The trouble is that I waste my time. Oh how I squander it! I spend far more time “getting ready” in the morning than I need to, I daydream on the bus, I check my social media during adverts on TV… If I added up all those minutes, I could name so many things that I would love to do if I had more time. But I get the same amount of time as everyone else every day, so I just need to use each minute as it comes. I can’t bank up time to use later, I need to be productive in the moment.
I would argue that being 100% productive and using every second of my waking life to do “work” is impossible and unhealthy. For the sake of argument, I’ll say work and productivity is referring to non-fun activities – it’s easier to find time for things I enjoy. But if I think about my sleeping habits for example; how often am I productive in the evenings? Answer: very rarely. I usually do fun things during that time, unless I have a very short deadline for a required task in which case I will regret my procrastination before settling in to work. So hypothetically, if I was to go to bed earlier and perhaps wake up earlier, I would use this unproductive time late at night for sleeping and the time gained in the morning for other things. I could prepare for my lessons, revise in preparation for tests, spend time making a good breakfast or do some exercise; things that I think I can’t or shouldn’t do late at night. I’ll just do them in the morning instead.
We’re getting a bit off-subject, but this idea flows quite nicely into this next idea. I’ve been noticing that I can’t let my mind do nothing. I’m seemingly afraid to let myself think. I pick up my phone and refresh my social media so many times a day that after counting how many times I did it in a couple hours, I realised I needed to make a change. I resolved to checking Instagram only twice per day. That took some getting used to. My body kept going on autopilot and I found myself opening the app without thinking. I would pick up my phone, type my password and without blinking, open Snapchat or Instagram even when there was no notification icon. I had some crippling FOMO for a while, I was afraid of missing something important. But then when I checked the posts and stories from the day, I was slightly disappointed to find I had missed nothing significant. Now I have rules for myself – other than at the start and end of the day, I try not to open my personal Instagram unless I have a DM. I turned almost all my post notifications off and put all my social media apps in a folder. Out of sight, out of mind has, for the most part, worked very well for me. I’m trying to replace my social media addiction with things I perceive as healthier like reading the news or fellow blogger’s work, but that doesn’t really solve my problem of constantly distracting myself from the world in the 10 metre radius around me (I’m not saying anyone should copy me. That little spiel was, more than anything, me setting up an accountability system in my blog. My rules are on the public internet now, so I’d better damn well stick to them so I can’t be called out for hypocrisy).
So back to my original question, when do you write? Do you have a set time – from 10-11am on Mondays I’ll write next week’s blog – or do you just find time when you have it? Let me know in the comments.