In September of 2016, I thought I wanted to be a travel writer. I really did. But looking at my schedule, I thought, “How will I find the time to write ?”
I’m a high school special education teacher and tennis coach. I teach eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. Then there’s grading papers, preparing lessons, meetings, and parent conferences. Oh yeah… and tennis practices and matches during the week and on weekends.
Who has the time?
Over the past couple years, I’ve gotten better at finding the time. So, how did I manage to squeeze in travel to dozens of domestic and European destinations, publish over 50 articles and several videos, and still handle my full-time job as a teacher and tennis coach?
I followed these steps:
1. Make the commitment
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if something is really important to you, you’ll make the time. But you can’t really make the commitment until you have the facts. You need a clear picture of what a travel writer actually does before you decide if you want to be one.
What does that mean? It means you have to read books, articles, and research websites to find out more about what a travel writer does. You need to take a course—whether it’s online or in person—where you can learn more. And you need to connect with those in the profession: ask questions, listen, and learn.
And then, at some point, you can make that choice. After getting the facts, do you still want to be a travel writer? If the answer is yes, then make the commitment.
2. Identify times in your schedule to write
Look at your life and pinpoint times that you can make available to write. Obviously, everyone is different, and your available times will not be the same as mine or another travel writer’s. But the important thing is to take a good, hard look at what you’re spending your time on and prioritize writing where you can.
One of the advantages I have is that, as a school teacher, I have June and July off. Because of my schedule, I’ve been fortunate to travel to Italy, Germany, Slovenia, and Croatia the last three summers. I also have the week of Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and a week in March for spring break.
In addition, I identified specific times in my daily schedule that I can devote to writing, and I do my best to stick to it.
3. Plan ahead
As a Type A, analytical and obsessive planner, I often can get more done because I plan ahead. As a result, I can be more effective and more productive. For example, I don’t want to work 10 hours every weekend on my writing. When I look at deadlines and plan ahead, I can chunk larger projects into smaller pieces, and make sure I set aside the time needed to meet those deadlines on a more reasonable schedule.
4. Make a to-do list
Make a to-do list, and mark those items on the list that are urgent and have to be completed today or tomorrow. Do these first. Decide the priority for the other items, and try to do a little bit each day, making sure the highest-priority items are attended to soonest. I also often set a timer for the item I’m working on to help me manage my time.
5. Do something every week
Do something every week, even if that something is small. Your efforts are cumulative, and every small step will take you closer to your destination.
So, to make the time to write, make the commitment. Schedule your time, plan ahead, make a to-do list, and do something every week.
Who has the time to write? You do!