This year, I’m trying to write every day. I’ve managed to do it for 18 days straight now, even though when I started I didn’t know where I would find the time. I discovered that the secret to writing more is the same as to reading more: you can do it anytime, anywhere.
A few years ago, I realized I wasn’t reading much. Maybe only 2 or 3 books a year. When I was younger a read a lot more, and I wanted to become that reader again. So I started 2019 with a simple new year’s resolution: to read more books. Much more. One book every two weeks would be a nice stretch goal. But where would I find the time to actually read that much?
I discovered that for me, the key was to read anytime, anywhere – with a little help of my iPhone: my books were mostly e-books in Kindle or audiobooks in Audible. (and later also Storytel).
Even if I had only a few minutes I would take out my earbuds and put on an audiobook. And instead of checking my Twitter timeline I opened the Kindle app. I read or listened waiting for the subway, while doing chores or simply in bed (where I read paper books as well). With all these small bursts of reading throughout the day, I found out I had more time than I thought. Also, a lot of time that previously went to doomscrolling social media or the news, or watching Netflix, now went to reading. I even changed my Netflix profile name to “READ A BOOK” to remind myself of my goal.
And it worked. At the end of 2019, I had read 70 books, much more than I expected. To be honest, I don’t read as much now as I did that year, but I stil read pretty much every day.
This year, I’ve added writing, and the same habits are working: anytime ideas for words pop up in my head, I take out my iPhone, wherever I am. When I have a few minutes of idle time, I just start typing something new or edit an existing draft. While I started writing mostly on my laptop, I now find myself writing and publishing most texts from my phone (I’m writing this while lying in bed).
Smartphones can be used for a lot of dumb things. And we probably spend way too much time behind these darn screens. But they can be a creative tool as well.