Aspiring writers often wonder how they can make time to write?
And rightfully so…
With all of the responsibilities we have as adults it does seem impossible to make time to write in an already busy day.
However, I’m of the mindset – if you really want it, you’ll make time for it!
Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve always had a busy schedule. Like you I’ve been busy doing what life demands of me like going to school, working, being a parent, and pursuing my dreams.
There were days early on in my writing career when I came home from a STRESSFUL day at work, cooked dinner, spent time with my son, ran a blog, got ready for work the next day and then wrote for four hours. Weekends where I holed up in my room, because my characters were speaking to me and I couldn’t let the inspiration pass by. Mornings I went to work on two hours of sleep because the inspiration just wouldn’t rest. Days where I was downright tired of my manuscript because I’d read it THAT much. But I still had to make time to write!
Now of course I’m not recommending you go all renegade like I did (unless you want to), but there are easy ways that you can make time to write throughout your day without compromising any of your responsibilities. These are super simple tips that are going to make you go, wait what? No! No! I need something more scientific.
I’m going to make this easy for you! You can implement these tips as soon as today.
Now I must warn you, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices if you want to complete a manuscript. And you’re going to make a lot of sacrifices, if you want your book to be good. I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I can promise you it’s worth it!
So how do I make time to write?
Part of the reason we don’t make time for writing is because we know that it is a huge undertaking. Writing a manuscript isn’t like writing a letter to a friend.
Completing your manuscript will require dedication, research, creativity, and last but not least time (and a lot of it). So when time is an issue, how do we conquer it?
Break it down into smaller segments!
Use whatever small window of opportunity you can grab until you can get your manuscript complete. If you have thirty minutes while your baby is down for a nap, take it! An hour while your son is at soccer, take it! A lunch break at work, take it! Take your computer with you and write on the train on your way to work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get accomplished.
Remove from your mind that you need huge blocks of time in order to write. Think about it like this, even if you write for thirty minutes you’ve advanced your story. Do that enough and you’ll see progress!
Forget the idea that you don’t have the time! Because you do! We all have the same twenty-four hours from which to work and there have been lots of people with lives just as busy as yours that has completed a manuscript. And damn it you can too!
Okay now that you know how to snatch time from everywhere you can get it, I’ll share with you how to kick it up a notch so that you can knock multiple chapters out at a time. This will make the difference on you working on a manuscript for a really long time or a reasonable amount of time.
If writing is your passion consider making sacrifices. I love TV like the next person, but I don’t watch a lot of it. I’d rather use my TV time to write for this blog or to advance my manuscript. Have you ever looked up and realized you’d just spent an hour on Facebook? Twitter? Or Instagram? Use that time to work on your manuscript instead!
I get it… we all need down time! But if you’re rested why not use your down time to advance your manuscript? Make a habit of it and you’ll find that you’ll be more creative. You will become pregnant with ideas and ways to advance your story. You’ll all of sudden find time that you never knew you had and before long you’ll have a finished manuscript.
Now I’ve got to warn you! You’re going to need to isolate yourself during your writing time. Choosing to take time for yourself may make your friends and family uncomfortable. But remember there’s usually discomfort in the things we really want for ourselves. In time your friends and family will respect the fact that you need solitude in order to write.
If you usually sit with your buddies in the cafeteria for lunch, instead eat at a coffee shop and spend your lunch hour writing. Just think what you could get accomplished if you did this 5 days a week?
Some of you may be considering just taking time off from work to write. If you decide to take a sabbatical and write for six months or a year, use your time wisely. It’s amazing how little time you think you have, and then when you get a bunch of it you flub it all away. You’ll really need to be disciplined in order to get your manuscript completed because the time will go by quicker than you ever could imagine. But if you do have the luxury of being able to take time away from your full time job in order to write, it will greatly benefit you in the long run. Try your best to stick to a schedule and be just as stingy with your time as if you were working a job. Having stretches of time where you able to write, will not only help you to get more written but it will help you to become a better writer.
Now there’s a few of you that I’ve still not managed to convince to make time to write. For you I suggest you take baby steps.
If you absolutely can’t make time to write…
Jot down plot twists, ideas for new characters, and ways to expand the story. When you do have time to write, you’ll have an idea of how to get started instead of staring at a blank page.
As you start to see progress, it’s easier to get to the end.
I’m speaking from experience! The closer I got to finishing my manuscript, the easier the writing became because I knew that I was thisclose to being done.
When do you make time to write? Do you feel your schedule is too busy to make time for writing? Please share in the comment section below.
NEXT: Five Traits Of A Good Writer
The one thing we cannot change is life but in reading this it occurred to me that the title says so much, we make the time, it is not always given to us, days don't always fall into neatly sliced slots, we make time for the things that are important. It really does not matter whether we "make" 10 minutes or 4 hours at a time, we make the time so that we progress to our goal. Thanks for the inspiration!
Exactly Karen! Even if its baby steps its better than nothing. I think this can apply to most things in life.
Sometimes I find myself rushing through time with my family in the evenings because I want to get to the computer to write. Or, I'll tell the kids I'll only be on the computer for an hour and I'll be on the computer for 3 – 4 hours. Sometimes I get the balance right and sometimes I don't. I'm still working on it…but all in all, it's a blessing to have many things that I love and in which I want to invest my time. I can remember a time when that was not the case!
Very true! Balance is important!
And to be honest sometimes there will be an imbalance as well.
If you have 24 hours in a day and can only take one hour for yourself, that's not necessarily balanced, but its something 😉 And that time may mean just as much as if you'd taken three or four hours because it was unexpected and needed.
I always make time for me! That's why I've continually pursued my passions throughout my life. I didn't always have the same amount of time available, but I made use of the time I had.
Give yourself permission to accept whatever time available! And eventually you'll recognize more and more time.
My greatest writing tool when I was working full time, my husband was in school full time and doing two jobs and I was the only one at home to look after my daughter, was my iPod. I wrote about 1/3 of my novel on the notes app on my iPod. During lunch breaks, on the bus, in the line at the grocery store. I'm fortunate to have a pretty physically repetitive job and can go over plot details in my head while I'm working. I can't say how many times I rushed through a client so I could go write down the revelation that had just popped up in my head. Now my husband is done school I get to work less at my day job so I can have a writing schedule. But I still write at night when my daughter and husband are in bed and my characters are never far from my mind.
I just purchased an iPod touch and I’m finding it useful for that as well.
I'm a bit of a binge writer. I have weeks when I'm writing constantly and fallow periods when even editing sems a herculean task. I think I'm just plain lazy most of the time and I need a kick up the butt(metaphorical and physical) to send me on my creative way. A famous writer once said to me " It's better to write something even if it's absolute crap." Writing is something you never forget how to do, but it's whether you want to do it to the best of your ability that's the question you have to ask yourself. I'm a blogger and short story writer too – maybepoet47.blogspot.com
Simon, I can totally relate to binge writing. 🙂
This is so true – you talk on YouTube about prioritising! Totally get that. x