writing a novel,  writing fiction,  writing for children,  writing for kids

Making Time to Write

So, you wanna write a book but you “just don’t have the time?”

I’ve heard people say, and I’ve even said myself on occasion, “I don’t have time to write.” Or, “I’m too busy to write. There isn’t enough time to get everything done.”

That isn’t true.

Sorry to blow your mind with that little revelation, but someone had to say it.

BIG TRUTH: There is always time for that which we want to do, we simply make the time. If you aren’t getting to your writing, it is because you are spending that time doing something else. Read that again.

****If you want to write, you must figure out how to make the time to do just that.****

Some writers prefer to write during the early morning hours while others choose to pen their words late at night. Still others use snatches of time throughout the day. Is one time/way better than another? That’s entirely up to you. You, and only you, must decide based on your own habits and productive times of the day.

As a writer, you must find what works best for you. Understanding your productive writing time is the key to making time work for you instead of against you.

Ask yourself:

Am I a morning person?
Night owl?
Do I need a chunk of time to write?
Do I need the computer?
Can I still keep my train of thought if I’m interrupted?
Am I organized enough to use small pockets of time wisely?
Do I need a strict schedule?
Can I “go with the flow?”

Once you can answer these questions and figure out when you are most productive, you’ll be amazed at the writing you can accomplish even in small amounts of time.

Try this: for two weeks keep track of when you write and how many words you write during each writing session. At the end of the two weeks, look at your data. You will most likely see a pattern of when you are most productive. You can also keep track of when you wanted to write but didn’t and list what you did instead. You may find a pattern of something that you could reschedule or possibly eliminate to free up the for writing. (Personally, I’d like to eliminate doing dishes and cleaning toilets).

Some authors, especially those still engaged in raising children, have used 5-10 minute time periods effectively enough to write novels. They know that their time is limited so they don’t waste even a second of it.

Other authors need to dedicate hours to their writing process and need quiet time to do so. This works well for those who have access to quiet time periods. (My house is usually in the not-so-quiet zone, so I’ve had to learn to write with noise around me).

For me, I’m running all day long. I homeschool my son with special needs, I have a daughter in high school, I have several of my older kids who live near me who have seven of my eleven grandchildren (and they like to hang out with their super cool Mom and Nana), I have a house to take care of and meals to prepare. I also have a husband that I still think is pretty awesome and I like to spend time with him. Add to this: groceries, laundry, and community service. I also like to keep up on my reading, playing the piano, and crocheting blankets for newborns.

This journal might help get you started in the right direction.

Some tricks I’ve learned:

  • Outlining my novel as a whole and then breaking it down into smaller chunks so I know what I’m writing. If I only have 30 minutes and I waste 20 of those trying to figure out what I want to write, that is not a productive use of my time. Rather, if I have a “map” of what I want write, then I can sit down and immediately begin writing. Outlining scenes helps me to stay focused and use my time as wisely as possible.
  • Thinking about my characters and listening to their conversations with each other while I’m taking a shower, exercising, washing dishes, or driving kids to activities. (Yes, I have lots of voices in my head).
  • Jotting down ideas in a notebook I carry in my purse (I also use the Notes feature on my phone). While I’m waiting for an appointment with my dentist or doctor, I can use that time to write down additional ideas for my plots or characters.
  • Using time between household chores. I’ll write down some notes or even craft a scene while dinner is cooking in the oven or I’m waiting for a load of clothes to dry.
  • Adding “Writing” to my To-Do list every day. I am a list person, so if I put something on my list, I’m way more apt to do it because I don’t like to go to bed at night without completing my list. (OCD anyone?)
  • Setting a timer for 25 minutes and then dedicating that time to writing. No phone calls, texts, scrolling on the internet, or any other distractions. I write for that entire time, then take a break. I try to fit in at least 2-3 of these writing sessions a day.

Each writer’s schedule is different and we are all very busy, because the world is a busy place. You have to find what works best for you, even if it takes some creativity on your part, and then take advantage of it.

If you really want to write, you have to make time for it. If you don’t, other things will always get in the way.

Check out this post On Writing A Novel for more tips.

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*This post may contain affiliate links which may compensate me with no additional cost you.

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