Finding the Right Time to Write

I can’t keep track of how many times people have said to me “I would love to write, but I just don’t have the time” or tell me that they’ve been working on their work in progress for the better part of the last decade.

It’s true.  Life is busy.  I’m busy and I’m sure most published authors are.  I also wrote my first published book while going to school full time and working full time.  I think people would be better to say that “they don’t have a lot of time to write.” It’s really matter of making the best of the time that you have.  Here’s what I can say:

  1. Set an optimal time to write: choose a time to write that best reflects your best time of day so that you can get the most out of your limited time.  If you are a morning person, this can mean getting up just a little earlier to make your goal.  If you’re an evening person, instead of watching a TV show, write a few hundred words.
  2. Set achievable goals and keep track of them: I find that a word count goal can be a lot of fun.  Set a big one for your project (60K, 80K, 100K…) and then figure out home many you want to shoot for in an average day.  I personally like to shoot for 1,000, but that doesn’t always happen.  Don’t get discouraged if you get behind.  Just pick yourself up and shoot for the current day’s goal.
  3. Always had something to write with:  I always have paper and pencil.  Barring that, I can write things on my iPhone.  When you are waiting for a few moments in line somewhere, jot down a paragraph.  I have frequent choir practices and once I’m all settled in, if I have a few minutes before it starts, I take a second to write something.  I’ve written entire stories this way. You can even use dictation programs or apps to jot down notes or to write a little bit when you’re on the go.

The biggest thing to remember is that a slow, but steady effort can be much more effective that infrequent bouts of zealous writing.  If you are serious about writing, you need to make it a habit, something you just do every day.

What sorts of things do you do to make time for writing?

Rebecca Birkin
Rebecca Birkin

I like the iphone idea. I used to lug my mini laptop everywhere, and sometimes still do, but I find it's great to be able to jot ideas into my phone and email them to myself. Some days I've gotten most of my word count done that way.