Good Use of My Time
By Bryan Cohen
I’ve spoken with many people who feel that they are too busy to write. It makes me a little sad, because most of these people are better writers than me. This speaks a lot to the power of finishing a book. Lots of people consider themselves authors but until they finish a book, get it published and sell a copy, it’s difficult to make the claim. Hell, the first person who bought a copy of my books was my girlfriend’s mom and yet that simple sale changed my entire mindset. I was really an author.
I used to think that between working temp jobs, auditioning for acting gigs and playing the part of a barista at a coffee shop, I had no time to create. Or at least, I had the fear that everybody else out there who was creating was better than I was. Regardless of the reason, I was completely full of crap.
I’m busier than ever, spending over 40 hours a week on my freelance writing assignments and the promotion of my website and books. And yet, I’m still setting aside time to write. I’m going to tell you three reasons why I’ve been able to do this, which I spell out more in depth in my book Writer on the Side.
If you don’t set goals for yourself, you will fall into crappy ones. The goals for many people include such classics as “I must zone out as much as possible when I get back from work,” “I must watch the show Two and a Half Men every week even if it’s a rerun,” or “I must gain two pounds a month using only food and alcohol that makes me groggy.” Nobody actually creates goals like this, but plenty of people are living them. Set a better goal for yourself by writing down something you actually want to do and studying it every day.
2. Increasing Energy
Last year, I read an amazing book called The Power of Full Engagement, which reinforced many of my beliefs about how important energy is in productivity. The book states that time management is bunk and that energy management is where focus, creativity and efficiency truly come from. Eating healthily, exercising regularly, setting aside time for relaxation with practices like yoga and meditation, spending time with loved ones, and working less often are key ingredients to a better life for an author; or for anyone really.
3. Schedule Writing Time
This seems like a silly third step, but it is the one that people tend to have the most trouble with. Personally, I love writing on weekend mornings before anybody in the house is up. Going to bed early on Friday and Saturday is the best way to open this time up for yourself. Stealing away to a coffee shop on weekday mornings or evenings has also been extremely beneficial to my writing, since it keeps me away from distractions and it locks me in at least until I finish my decaffeinated tea.
The silly thing about these three steps, is that you’ll probably have just as much time to do the important things like seeing your family and washing your dishes. You’ll just dispense with the television and the fatty-food induced cat naps. Those weren’t helping you to feel accomplished anyway. Try these steps out for a month and see how they go. If all works out, you’ll be well on your way to finishing that book of yours and becoming a published and sold author.
Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.
Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!
To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address.