In a cruel twist of both Irony and Fate (the latter’s not actually cruel…) I found myself on the receiving end of a question about writing, particularly about how to avoid procrastination and finding time to write around school work and paid work and sociliasing with friends, and a million and one thousand things (to steal a line from Alex Day’s Holding On) that get in the way of writing.

My blog post, this blog post, was due in yesterday. My excuse for it’s lateness? I had no time to write it. Now, normally I’d laugh at such excuses. “No time to write?” I’d cry out. “Make time!” That’s supposed to sound enthusiastic for writing by the way, not like a drill sergeant being a tool. But yesterday, and Friday, my time was stolen. Now, I’m not complaining about Friday… I got to go to a Muse concert here in Dublin (fantastic, by the way!). That took up a day of writing for NaNoWriMo, and meant I couldn’t prepare this blog post.

Yesterday though… that was a nightmare. I arrived in work a full two hours early. I know, how? Well, my head was so full of madness that I messed up my time table and was in fact due in at twelve, not ten, and was due off at six, not four. So instead I worked from ten until six. You might wonder, then, why I didn’t write when I got home. Simple answer, the honest answer, is that I had mass to attend. I know, I’m putting God before you all. I apologise. But in all seriousness, I was actually singing in the mass in my friend’s choir, so I couldn’t skip it. Then when I got home, I had dinner and was subsequently too tired to even think about remembering something as hugely important as this blog, let alone move from out of the couch.

Now, that twist of Fate! (yes, I give “Fate” a capital letter.) You see, in my vlogging days (i.e. now) I talk about NaNoWriMo to try and encourage mass participation in the event. The people at NaNoWriMo, henceforth called NaNo to save me typing too much, found out about these vlogs. In fact, they were so happy with them that I was asked to do the Daily Q&A for their site! Even today I’m still on the homepage, and my vlog views and subscribers have shot up. Not only that, but my face is out there with someone actually asking for advice via email! Ironic, then, that I had no time to write. (have I said that already?)

So, how do you find time to write? Well, it’s simple – plan to write. Much like you’d plan to see friends or go to work, plan to write. I had planned to write on Friday before seeing my friends, but was instead getting ready for a concert. I got my ticket two hours before the show; I couldn’t plan, so I couldn’t write (I also couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see my favourite  band play live – you can priorotise if you wish; don’t say no to a one-time event so you can write, unless you really have to). Saturday, I planned to write after work, before mass, but couldn’t because I had my time table wrong. I then planned to write after mass, but was too tired to do anything because of work. Today? I slept in because I was so tired from work. I think you’re beginning to see a pattern – plan!

Now, I’m as addicted to the Internet as a lot of people, but there are things you can do to help yourself write. Only look at your favourite sites and forums after writing your daily goal. Don’t play online games. Farmville and Cafe World can wait until after NaNoWriMo. Only watch the shows you want to follow, not just whatever’s on TV. Re-runs are not good for your novel, unless you use them for inspiration and go straight to work afterwards.

When reading, if it’s for pleasure, not school/college, choose something to help you find your voice, or something short that you don’t have to spend hours at, so you can write more later that day.

If you have an English essay due in (or if you speak both English and another language and can clearly understand this, any essay will do), try plan some writing time before it, but leave enough time to get the work done. When you get down to your school stuff then, you’ll be in writing mode! (not good for Maths though, as vocabulary and numbers don’t go hand in hand).

Use your time efficiently. If someone asks you to play a game with them (like Fifa 10), say “no” if you’re behind on your novel, or say “one match” if you really want to play, and make it one match! And when you write, actually write, don’t just sit there looking at a screen.

Now, hope this is helpful, because I have to go and try do some of my own writing! Best of luck with the novels guys!

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