Finding Time to Write is a Myth

What would happen if you found more time to write? Would it solve all of your writing woes?

I hear this come up a lot with other writers that I talk to. One of the biggest problems people face is finding time to write.

If you’ve been looking for time to write and have never found it, it is time to give up. Yep, you heard me right. Throw in the towel, because it is never going to happen. Finding time to write is like finding El Dorado’s gold or the lost city of Atlantis – mythical, delusional, and impossible.

For a long time I tried to find time to write, usually when I was off work during the evenings or weekends. But when I had time off I found myself watching TV, cleaning house, cooking nice meals, spending a lot of time with friends, sleeping in, reading books, newspapers, or junk on the Internet.

What ended up happening is I never found the time, because when the opportunity came, I was always doing something else that felt like it needed doing at the time, or something that I felt like doing.

So rather than find time, what if you were to make the time?

The notion of making time rather than finding it, completely changed the way I write and vastly improved my productivity. When I started making time to write, I made headway on the projects that were most important to me.

What does it mean to make time?

Here’s what you do:

1.) Find a time on your calendar. Find some free time outside of work. Ideally you should pick a time when you have energy and are free of distractions.

2.) Put it on your calendar as writing time. There you have it. Now you know that on that day and time you’re going to write.

3.) Chill. Do the other things that aren’t writing like calling your parents, playing with your kids, cleaning out your fridge, or doing the crossword puzzle. Right now is not the time for writing. It’s for taking care of other things in your life.

4.) Write during writing time. Don’t do anything else. From X time to Y time, you are writing. It’s okay if you stare into space for a while, but ultimately , you have to use that brain of yours to put some words together and form a narrative.

5.) Be realistic. Sure, everyone wants to write for two hour chunks. That sounds wonderful. But a more realistic goal may be writing for 30 minutes. There’s no shame in that. You can get a lot done in 30 minutes.

It’s okay if you screw up. That’s to be expected. Are you writing at night when you’re too tired? Are you writing in the evening after work before you’ve had a snack? Is an hour and a half too much time, and should you cut that time in half? If something’s not working, then what changes can you make to improve it?

Try it for a few weeks, and you’ll find that writing feels less like a dreaded chore and more like something that feels natural that you do every day. And then the only writing woe you’ll have is finishing up for the day and eagerly awaiting your next writing date.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. jazzfeathers says:

    Four years ago, I tried NaNoWriMo while working full time in the buisiest time of the year for my shop. I would get up at 7:00 so to have time to write for an hour before going to work. It was hard, but I did it and that’s when I started writing every day (well, almost every day ;-)), something I had always thought impossible to do.

    I think you’re rightg: if you wait to have the time, you’ll never have it.

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