1. Write on your mobile device. I have My Writing Spot on my iPhone. It’s a handy little app that lets you write with minimal formatting and also syncs with your online account. Most of my Scribophile have been written on that app while commuting to or from work on the train. One day I wrote about 3000 words of a story while going back and forth between my phone and my computer, depending on where I was. I’ve written a full short story while camping out in the desert. I had no reception and charging my iPhone was a little bit of a hassle, but I was typing away at night, inspired by all of the stars everyone else was sleeping under. That’s a beautiful thing. (Also, for reading, try eBooks on your mobile devices)
2. Consider public transportation. As you can tell from the first suggestion, I take a lot of public transportation. It’s the perfect downtime for writing or reading. When driving, the closest you can get is listening to an audiobook. But what if you have a wave of inspiration? You can’t just pullover on the side of the road and start writing (well, technically you can…but who does that? Sounds like it would take forever for certain people to get to work). Every minute of the day counts, and an extra hour a day of writing/reading time can really add up over the years.
3. Turn off the Internet. If you’re like me, the Internet is where you do most of your procrastinating. It seems that my fingers have become programmed to bring up YouTube on my computer whenever I pause for more than a second in thinking about what to write next. Disable the Wifi, unplug the ethernet cord, close all applications except Word. If you have a writing desk, make a rule that whenever you’re at that desk, the Internet is OFF.
4. Write longhand. If turning off the Internet doesn’t help (for example, maybe you’re just as likely to bring up Solitaire – no Internet connection required), try writing longhand. A computer is meant for a wide range of tasks. It’s like trying to be on a diet while working at a chocolate factory: you’re focused, but there’s just too many distractions. Pencil and paper, on the other hand, have one function and one function only: writing (unless you’re in to making paper planes). I find that I write longer and with more focus when I’m writing a story longhand. However, beware: it can take a significant amount of time to get those pages typed up. It took me about a year to type up 400 pages.
5. Read while you workout. Reading while doing machine cardio like running or biking can not only get you some extra pages in, but it will make those grueling minutes go by faster. At least, for me it does. It’s like watching television, only more involved. I suggest some type of eReader: they’re flat, less likely to fall, and you can make the text big enough so that your bouncing up and down won’t be a problem.
6. Tweet short stories. I started tweeting short stories a couple years ago and, while it hasn’t made me famous (yet), it’s a nice way to get some quick writing in. Also, some of my short stories have come from the tweets I liked the most. It can also connect you to other writers on Twitter. Whatever it does, it’s a fast, efficient way to write. Why not?
7. Adjust your schedule. Do you find yourself writing at the end of the day, when you’re tired and falling asleep (or is it just me)? Try shifting things around so that your more active tasks take place when you’re starting to run on E; do the writing when you’re more refreshed. This may seem irrational, but hear me out. How often have you fallen asleep working out, or grocery shopping? If you have a long list of errands to run, saving writing to the end will just cause you to sleep in an uncomfortable position: propped up at your writing desk. I’d say the best time to write is early in the morning. Shave off a couple hours from the end of your sleep cycle to write…THEN try and make everything else fit in the day. If writing is a priority, then if something has to be sacrificed at the end of the day, at least you know it won’t be that.
Any advice you have on maximizing time?