Dude, How Do You Find Enough Time to Write?
This article was originally published on the FCR blog on January 30, 2017. Click here to read the original.
There’s a second most frequently asked question people ask me with regards to blogging. To review, the first question was, “Dude, how do you find enough stuff to write about?” The second question is, “Dude, where do you find enough time to write?”
It’s a fair question for sure — especially for those who don’t have the words blog, marketing, or writing in their job description. In the case of most working folks, this automatically eliminates at least 40 hours each week that could be spent writing. This means that writing must share the other 128 or so available hours with the likes of sleeping, eating, family activities, Netflix, exercise, and a handful of other really important activities.
Clearly writing can’t be a sort of flippant thing we “get to” when it’s convenient. In my experience, life has a way of filling our time such that the things we hope to “get to” never “get done.” Before you commit to prioritizing writing in your list of things to accomplish, I highly suggest you answer these questions first.
Am I really passionate about this topic?
Hopefully you’ve selected a topic that’s broad enough and that you’re passionate enough about to come up with a running list of ideas for articles. If you’re truly passionate about it, you’ll find your mind, learning activities, and conversations wandering toward that topic and it’s important to keep track of those ideas for when it’s time to write. I constantly add ideas to my writing list during my other life activities.
What value will this add to my life?
If you’re going to sustain writing long term, it’s wise to tie it to a greater purpose in your life. Here are some of the reasons I’m willing to write after hours. See if any of these are true for you:
- Improving the lives of other professionals by helping them connect their work to a greater purpose or simply do their jobs better.
- Networking with other like-minded professionals.
- Having an outlet to sort out my thoughts and feelings.
- Accountability to learn more about an area I’m passionate about.
- Building my personal brand and advancing my career.
Do I really have the time to write?
Once you’ve connected with your purpose and passion, you need to figure out where writing fits in your schedule. Realistically speaking, you need to fit it in before or after work. Take inventory of what you do during those hours and see where you can prioritize writing ahead of something that’s less important. If there’s no such window available, are you passionate enough about your topic to either get up earlier in the morning or stay up later at night?
How often do you want to post?
When I first started a blog, I had the goal of posting something five days a week. While I’m passionate about customer service, there was no way I was going to have the time or enough meaningful content to post this often. To achieve this goal, I ended up partnering with my friend Jenny Dempsey and between the two of us, and thanks to a bit of variety, we sustained that pace for a couple years.
While you don’t have to post something every day, you do want to post on a fairly regular cadence to get readers and keep them interested. Your cadence really depends on the type of content you’re creating and the time it takes for you to create it.
Did you pass the test?
If you’ve answered these questions and you’re still convinced you want to write, the final hurdle is to block out the time and get it done. Personally, I’m at my best when I have a time limit. Assuming I have a list of topics to choose from, I like to block out the time needed, get a drink at Starbucks, and hammer it out. That time limit helps me lock in and focus on the task at hand. Also don’t forget to edit that post before it goes live (here’s some advice).
Finally, if you’re needing a bit of a confidence boost before you put your thoughts out on the Internet, find someone already doing this and ask them if they’ll be your editor/mentor. If this article speaks to you and you need some guidance, leave me a note and I’d be happy to help!