10 ways to make time for writing


As much as we want to write, sometimes finding the time can be difficult. Think there’s no hope? We beg to differ.

1)   Wake up just a little earlier.

I wake up 15 minutes early.  Just 15 minutes, which is basically like hitting the “snooze” button one and a half times. In 15 minutes I can dump whatever’s in my head right onto the page, and have a nice, clean start to my day.

2)   Turn off the radio. And the TV.

Any time I’m in my car by myself I’m in my head. That means no iPod, no radio stations, no stupid commercials. Instead I’m envisioning the perfect fictional scene, because the clearer that scene becomes in my mind, the easier it falls onto the page when I open my laptop.

3)   Always be ready.

I take advantage of Voice Memos. (Don’t have a smart phone?  Carry a small pad of paper and a pen with you, or leave one in your car.  And use it.) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrawled something on a napkin and ended up using what I wrote in that random moment in a crucial scene in one of my novels.

4)   Take shortcuts.

I know my limitations. Need to bring cookies to your daughter’s school party? Run by the grocery store. That time you spend scraping down your KitchenAid mixer could be better off spent at your laptop.

5)   Use the enlightened “no.”

I use the word “no” liberally. I’m polite when I decline that dinner invitation, but if I’m taking time away from what sustains me, I’m just going to end up bitter and resentful, and no one’s looking for those qualities in a dinner guest.

6)   Learn to write anywhere.

I write on the go. A few years ago my son took a sabbatical from second grade, and suddenly I had an eight-year-old boy with me ALL THE TIME. The only way I survived was bringing my laptop along to every activity that didn’t necessitate significant interaction.  I wrote almost the entire snowmobile scene from The Crossing sitting in my convertible one afternoon while my son took an art class.

7)   Keep your energy up.

I move my body. I’m religious about my yoga practice and I dance when I can. If I’m not moving I feel tangled up, and I stop trying. I shut down and retreat into perpetual cookie baking (or cookie eating) mode. But if I move, EVERYTHING moves. (Think you don’t have time? Pick a song, just one, that you couldn’t help dancing to when you were in high school.  Crank up the volume. You’ll feel better.)

8)   Claim some sacred time for writing.

My writing time is my writing time. Period. Even if I only have one hour blocked off, I’m going to take that time seriously. I’m not going to answer the phone.  I’m not going to answer the doorbell. I’m going to write, because the way I feel when that hour’s up trumps everything else.

9)   Go to bed a little later.

I stay up later than usual, maybe as much as an hour. Am I tired the next morning? Probably. But there’s not much better than feeling creatively empowered, and if I ride that feeling into sleep I’m going to wake up carrying the same feeling.  Everyone around me will benefit.

10) Prioritize joy.

I make my joy a priority. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that I absolutely can’t take care of the people I love (including my sweet son) if I’m not taking care of myself. And that means doing what makes me happy. Writing makes me happy. So I write, no matter what. And magically, the people I love are happier, too.

Does this all sound unmanageable? I promise you’re more powerful than you think.   But if you’d like some help, Writership is here for you. Because we know how important it is to follow your bliss. And if your bliss is writing, oh, do we have the perfect voyage for you.