November was a productive month…for me. In the writing world, it probably wasn’t much, but for me, it is a big deal. My full-time job consumes 10 hours every weekday, the commute 2.5 hours, the gym 1.5 hours. My challenge then, is to find and make time to write every day. I invested in a Dell net book and a Pampered Chef timer. Then I “created” time to feed my passion. Here are five ways:
(1) I stopped driving to work a year ago and started taking public transit. I don’t save any time. In fact, on the surface, it almost seems counter-productive. Now I have to drive to the closest train station, take a commuter train, and then transfer to a subway train. What I do get is a half-hour chunk in the morning and another one in the evening, that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t get behind the steering wheel. Another bonus is that during the ten-minute subway ride, I catch up on some reading.
(2) During my lunch hour, I whip out my net book and lose myself in my story-world for thirty to forty-five minutes. Now, I can’t always keep my co-workers from interrupting me, but I make the best of it.
(3) In the evening, after dinner and the clean-up are behind me, I set my timer to write for forty-five minutes to an hour, depending upon how late it is. After that, I allow myself to check my social media accounts, emails, prepare for bedtime and do some more reading. Sometimes I reverse the order, but then I have to stay disciplined about stopping to do the fun stuff when my timer starts to buzz.
(4) On the weekends and holidays, that’s when I can get really productive—albeit the housework gets in the way quite a bit. The trusty timer comes in handy, like when I create chunks of time between laundry loads.
(5) Finally, when I have to travel on business, the airplane journey provides a nice break. When the flight attendant announces that electronics are no longer a flight hazard, then the writing begins.
Now, I can’t always stick to the routine. Life happens—I meet friends and interesting people along the way. I give up some writing time, but I’ll make it up on the weekend or some other time. After all, how good would my writing be without life experiences, mine or someone else’s?
Picture by Jeremy Hsiung