Hello everyone! This is my first interaction with all you wonderful people in this space. I take it as a special privilege for being allowed to share my thoughts about writing on this active platform, over the next few weeks.
I’ve been thinking of what we should start with and have decided to open our conversation with the problem of managing time. Being a doctor and heading a hospital presently, I find this question being asked almost constantly, “How do you manage to find time to write?”
With so many of us amateur writers having full-time jobs in office or at home, I feel it is something that all of us would have struggled with at some point or the other.
How do you “make time” to fuel your passion?
Reflect on your day. There are small amounts of time which you can carve out of any busy day to make your own recess-time. Remember the school days? Well in adult life too, we need to make this recess-time and use it to indulge in a passion that beckons you and fulfils you. Case-in-point here being, writing.
Have you noticed how you decide to “check” Facebook and end up surfing for 2 hours? Or the TV? Sometimes, I find myself switching channels aimlessly and before I know it, I have wasted a whole hour. These are precious aliquots of time which can be used to indulge your creativity.
Start with just 15 minutes of your day. It is enough for us to ideate, even actually write the initial edit of a 100-word story. I have often written a story or poem in 15 minutes and uploaded it. Or saved a rough draft for later. This can be before you start the day, it can be during your lunch hour or it can be before you go to bed.
The day will always have only 24 hours in it. It is up to us to prioritise what we want to do and start straightaway – there’s no better time than right away. But be consistent. Once you find it possible to find 15 minutes in a particular part of the day, one finds we can find 30 minutes, too.
Besides, there may be some activities you are doing that may not really be absolutely necessary. Or perhaps someone else could do it for you thereby freeing up time. One may even look at hiring someone. Like for example doing the daily shopping.
Those In Between Times
You are taking the commute to your office. Or you are waiting for an appointment. You are travelling out of town on work. These are times one can jot down points if not actually write a story/article. Or do research online even on your phone for an article you are meaning to write.
Airports are a favourite place for me. Especially while awaiting boarding or even whilst on the plane.
Take things one step at a time
I feel the best way to start writing is to start a blog. There are no deadlines. You have the freedom to choose what you want to write about and there is no competition. It’s your space. To talk aloud. To the virtual world. But make it consistent. Every day, preferably. Though it is a flexible timing, it makes writing a part of your day.
That brings us to a very valid point of scheduling a time for writing every day and sticking to it.
The Fringes of the Day
This is one of the most important things to identify – your own time. It depends on your own preference for a time of the day. Some of us are morning people, some, night owls.
For example, you know that you need to start your day at 6 in the morning. Start waking up at 5.30. And, bingo, you’ve made time. Don’t schedule anything for that time. Not even exercise. Just you and your laptop/notebook.
The same goes for the nights. It’s my own preferred time of the day. When everything you need to do has been done, everyone who needs you has also retired for the day and so there is no demand “pending”. Make it a habit to keep that time apart for you. Let the household know that it is your time – your Me-Time and you would prefer not being disturbed. It might be difficult to do and implement at first, but gradually you can. Try not to do anything during that time so that your own body clock recognises that time as writing time!
Getting into the habit of writing is a hugely important step. The length of the time you allot to this “habit” is not as important as actually fitting it into the schedule of your day. How much can be established stealing these small chunks of your own time is an eye-opener and a great motivator. A self-fueling one, at that. I read somewhere that an author published a book while doing it only while commuting.
How I do It
I have been writing regularly for the past 6 years. My blog Ripples and Reflections was the starting point. I am a full-time working professional being a gynaecologist. I also have another full-time job of being a wife, a mother and an active social life that takes away many nights.
Finding time to do something is always inversely proportional to how much we want to do something. If we want to do it there is no way we will not find the time or an opportunity to do it. Everything is a matter of prioritisation. This is a very personal decision and each person has to tailor his / her own day accordingly.
I realised that there would never be an ideal situation, where I could tell myself, “Now is a good time. Start writing.” Waiting for a good time to arrive or saying things like “Once this project is done, when my kids leave home, I will get down to it.” That tomorrow would take a long time coming. Maybe never. The list of obstacles is also unending. One obstacle would always replace the other.
It can also be called procrastination.
I still remember the day I started my blog. It was midnight by the time I got the blog going. But the sense of achievement I had after I had posted my first article on the blog was immense.
Though I set the ball rolling there is no doubt that something that requires so much of my attention would result in less attention for something else. Having said that, I get tremendous satisfaction in putting my thoughts on paper and if I have to compromise on certain things like TV time or even sleep, I am willing to do that.
That is all for today. I would love all of you to interact with me and each other in the comments below and share your own views on sharing and managing that precious commodity for all writers, Time.
Happy writing and happy time management!