At my Capstone Event showcasing one of my projects last night, I was asked, “How do you get all this writing done?” I get this question a lot. I never thought I was doing anything differently than anyone else; at the moment, I work a couple of part-time jobs and I have multiple writing projects going simultaneously.  But this question keeps popping up, so I decided to give it some serious thought. And the answer shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.

I began by writing down my obsession with list-making and schedule-mapping. I described the way I map out each week, blocking time slots when I need to be here or there for work or a reading, as well as all the upcoming deadlines. I then add a bulleted list of projects I’m working on underneath my crude map. But, thinking about it, I realized this time map is just a step in organization, and any method of organizing time, so long as it works, is just fine.

Another tidbit I realized is that I carry the schedule map with me everywhere throughout the week, and I look at this slip of paper and re-read the list of projects every time I have a couple seconds of downtime–like when I’m standing in line somewhere or when I’m folding laundry. (A lot of creativity happens as I’m doing other things.) Re-reading the bulleted list keeps my mind focused on my in-the-works projects, so that when I do sit down to write, the words line up faster and easier.

While writing down my weekly map-making process, I wrote this revealing line: “After mapping out time spent at my paying jobs, I plug in the ‘holes’ in the map schedule by blocking out time for my personal writing projects —things I don’t necessarily get paid to do, but treat as if they’re my job and my future depends on them (because it does).”

And that’s the crux: I treat my creative writing projects with the same respect, time commitment, and sense of responsibility that I give to my paying employment, all the while knowing that I’m building my own future with the writing I choose to do.

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon.