Break This One Habit & Find More Writing Time

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Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

I noticed a bad habit the other day and realized it is rather costly to my productivity. No, it’s not just wasting time on the internet or any other act of procrastination. Rather, it is a bad habit involving poor perspective. But I think breaking this one bad habit could mean much to productivity as a writing in a serious way.

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Want to guess what this bad habit is? It’s the simple comment to myself, “I don’t have enough time.” I noticed that between five and seven times a day I may have upwards of fifteen minutes when something else is pending that I literally give up the time to write, believing there’s no actual time to accomplish something productive. You want to know what I did when I realized this? I ignored myself and wrote just over 100 measly new words of fiction. That’s not much since I know I can sit down and write several thousand words in a day.

But then the math hit me square in the head. Let’s say you actually write six months out of a year – the other half dedicated to editing and/or the business of writing. Those one hundred measly words five times a day add up quickly. If I need 40,000 words over thirty days of writing that adds up to 15,000 words out of those forty, or 37.5% of the total. String that out over six months and it’s 90,000 words.

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Featured Image -- 9623Let’s put that in perspective. It’s a whole book. It’s 18 short stories at an average of 5,000 words. If you average 1,000 words per blog post it’s 90 of them. Since most of my posts average around 500 words that’s actually about 180 posts or almost 70% of what I would post on my blog in a year (and I have a lot of back-logged ideas). That’s a lot of productivity over time.

Now, I’m not advocating that you or I frantically squeeze writing into every available second. I’m just observing how often I think I don’t have time when I actually do. I mean what am I doing with those spare fifteen minutes several times a day? Surfing the internet aimlessly?

Instead of fumbling useful time away I think I’d like to use it to be more productive – even if I don’t approach that full total part of it means I’m much further along with a number of projects. And what about actual spare time? I think I may find that I have more time for walks, reading, conversations, etc by being productive when it’s time to be productive.

I’m chipping away at this bad habit starting today (and it started by writing this post). How about you? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

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IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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  1. I forced myself through that “I don’t have time” perception hump last September by creating a writing schedule/goal per week. To achieve it, I was slipping in words at any odd moment that presented itself – including ones where I had no chance to write things down (like the shower) so that I’d save them up for a quick 15 burst (before my head exploded). Got me powering through 3 1/2 books in 6 months. Yeah, you can get a LOT of writing done if you don’t stop yourself first!

    1. Thanks for the comment. That’s a lot of productivity in 6 months. I hope your efforts return good sales!

  2. Great article. What happens to me is that I do everything for others in the way of promoting, reviewing their books, crtiquing, etc. and then there’s no time left for my own work which gets pushed aside. I panicked yesterday because I had so many deadlines. What worked for me was doing the short jobs first, and leaving the longest for last. I managed to check off a long list in two hours so that today I can conscetrate on the judging of contests, which I have 3 stories in. This way I finally get to some of my work and if my luck holds out maybe get to work on my own WIP. I have found that when I’m really tired, if I tell myself I’ll just write or work for a half hour I get my second wind and accomplish a lot and last for another hour or two. Doesn’t everyone go to bed at 3 AM? 🙂

    Micki Peluso

    1. Thanks for visiting & commenting today, Micki. You sound very busy so I appreciate the time. I’m finding that I have hidden ample time to write in the bad habit of assuming I don’t have time. I hope this post makes other writers more aware of the short snippets of time like you mentioned.

  3. Bows her head in absolute adoration! You are so right! I myself have found how a little every day can go a very long way. And having so little time, often means you give those 15 minutes your 100%.

    1. Glad to help. Thanks for visiting & commenting today. I’m following up with some tips I’m developing for a post next week too.

  4. It’s so obvious when you actually SAY it but hard to realise you’re doing it yourself…. I never feel like I “have time” to write as much as I want – but I have no idea what I find is so important to do instead!!

    1. That’s correct. If we get the work done first, then we can relax. Some might think this is about being a workaholic but it’s really about being productive in a healthy way. Most of what I need to do can actually be done in a reasonable time but I let distraction keep me from it. So I work to say not to those things.

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