Creativity

How to Find Time to Create Your Dream Project

Nearly every week someone comes to me in frustration and says something like, “I need to write a book but I can never find the time.” Or, “I have a screenplay I want to write, but I just have too much to do during the day.” Honestly, in most cases, even if they had nothing else to do, most still wouldn’t actually get around to writing. But just in case “finding the time” is a real problem for you, let me offer this suggestion:

Get up and do it.  Write, create, think.  First thing in the morning – before you check your email, before you post on social media, and before you make any calls.

This morning, I got up at 6am, wrote an online feature story for a client, wrote two posts for my blog, and updated the copy on our company website, and it’s barely 8am. Two hours, and I knocked off three important writing projects that have been nagging at me for two weeks.  I actually wrote my first two books working just from 6-8am.  But if I had been up at 6am checking my email, responding to the 20-30 emails I typically have in the morning, then reading everyone’s Facebook timeline, checking Twitter, then finding funny things to post on my social media pages, it would be 11am, and I would have nothing to show for writing.

Try it.  Like an addiction, email and social media pulls hard. In fact, it’s such a challenge, there are numerous software apps out there that block your email, social media, and other distractions from your computer screen. However, I can’t help but think that if you really need that kind of help, you may not be a serious writer. Because serious writers do the work.

Do the work.  Be a serious writer or creator.

In fact, what should you be working on right now instead of reading this post?

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7 Comments

  1. Agreed. I’ve recently written, published and now marketing a book, and I’ve done it (and continue to do it) exclusively from 5am – 7am weekdays.

    On a mathematical note:

    2 hours set aside only once a week add up to 104 hours across a year. Divided by a 38.5 hour working week, this gives me 2.7 full-time work weeks to get my extra projects done.

    2 x 1 week = 104 hours / 38.5 = 2.7 extra weeks.

    Need more than two and a half weeks to get your project done? What do you need? “If I only had a whole month off, I could get that novel written…” Then just get up early twice a week.

    2 hours, twice a week add up to 208 hours across a year. And as the maths above, you end up with 5.4 extra weeks across a year. That’s MORE than a month, and all you had to do was get up early twice a week. (You can still sleep in the other 5 days.)

    These early hours really do add up – and they really do produce products that I could never have done without getting up early and setting aside this time.

  2. Totally agreed. This year I have finished first drafts of two new novels in less than four months – purely by getting my head down and getting on with it, in my spare time (I have a family and full time job).

    I’ve lost count of the number of times people ask how I possibly find time to do this. My answer is simple: writing is my number one priority after family and work, so I don’t let anything else interfere with it – church, social events, etc are all secondary. I will concede that my single mindedness is sometimes unbalanced (I really should clear out the garage, for instance), but in the end people make time for what is important to them, and get on with it.

    I have very little time for lazy creative people. If it is that important to you, make it a priority and do it.

  3. We were just discussing this yesterday with our team about the value of time. I really like the illustration around this in Dr. Tim Elmore’s book Habitudes about the statue Opportunity in Greece. Opportunity had long flowing hair in front of its face– but was completely bald in the back. You could grab it when it was coming toward you, but you could never get a hold of it once it passed.

  4. Hmmmm… Often there are children to get off to school in the morning.

    I believe that there has to be one person taking care of running the family so the other person can be free to develop (business, art, writing….). In the best of situations the family job gets passes back and forth to let both partners have periods of creativity, but that is a difficult place to get to because the one working on their project is usually reluctant to stop and give up their creative time.

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