Finding Time to Write Means Making Time to Write

Finding Time to Write

Most people who say they want to write don’t make writing a high enough priority. They intend to write, but end up running errands or doing a thousand other things. People use these activities as excuses not to write. Turn that around. Make writing an excuse not to do other things. Finding time to write means making writing a priority. This is easier said than done.

Change the Kind of Writing You Do

Finding time to write is sometimes a matter of choosing the right thing to write. You may only have a half hour a day to devote to writing. That is still a significant amount of time if you do it every day. Unfortunately, writing the Great American Novel may become a depressing task if you have limited time. Try writing personal essays, or poetry, or short stories. Pick projects you can complete. Build up your chops before setting out on a project that may take years. If you do have a long project, don’t let lack of progress depress you. Write something else for a while then come back to it. The key is to keep writing something. Finding time to write a poem or an essay is easier than finding time to write a novel.

Train Yourself to Write Fast

Remember in high school and college when your evil instructors made you write timed essays? Make yourself do the same thing. Give yourself 45 minutes to write a coherent article or short-short story. You may not be successful every time, but that is why you keep working at it. It’s a skill you learn to develop. Finding time to write is easier when you write quickly.

Simplify Your Life

Finding Time to WriteTake a look at all the projects you are currently working on. This means more than writing projects. Look at your whole life. Try to eliminate a few things. Analyze your days and figure out exactly where the time is going. Cut back on some of the less important tasks. Watch two hours of TV instead of four. Give up on that afghan you’ve been knitting. Go out twice a week instead of every night. Decide that you aren’t going to bring home your work. Make some sacrifices. Decide that your writing is worth it. Finding time to write means figuring out what you don’t want to be doing instead of writing.

Figure Out the Best Times of the Day for You to Write

The best time to work is a combination of when you are most alert and when you have free time. Pick that time and write. It may be the middle of the night or the middle of the day, but having a regular time when you write makes it easier to keep writing.

Don’t Answer The Phone

Don’t come to the door. Don’t Tweet. Don’t update your Facebook status. For as little or as much time as you are writing, do only that. Finding time to write means making the most of the time you spend writing.

Decide Whether Or Not Writing Is A Priority

Writing is not for everyone. If you keep trying and failing to make the time to write, then writing may not be for you. You may want to write, but if the desire is not enough to keep you from doing more entertaining or pressing activities, then perhaps writing isn’t for you.

Writing may become more meaningful to you at another point in your life, but don’t feel guilty about letting it go. When it is important enough to you to make some sacrifices, you’ll be able to make them. Adjust to the fact that writing is something you like, but not necessarily enough to be a writer. I would love to take up painting. It looks like a wonderful hobby. I realize though that I just don’t have the time to devote to it now. At a later stage in my life, who knows? But I guarantee I don’t feel guilty about not doing it now. Finding time to write is great, if it is really what you want to do.

Additional Information

Finding Time to Write was originally published in September, 1999. Finding Time to Write was revised on December 19, 2013.

9 thoughts on “Finding Time to Write Means Making Time to Write

  1. Thanks for that, it’s a nice article, all the more so for being concise. I liked what you said about speed writing in particular, as my biggest hurdle is always overcoming the urge to stop, double check, delete the last paragraph, and so on, which isn’t productive in the initial stages.

    That’s why I’m doing Nanowrimo this year, to build up my recently ailing daily speed writing. So far I’m 1.7% in, and have twenty one days left to hit 50,000. Ulp.

    I set up my own blog ‘deadliner’, too, to help myself and others keep on target. Take a look if you get the chance, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Pingback: Will Write For Chocolate » Archive » Finding the time to write (even if you have kids)
  3. Pingback: Will Write For Chocolate » Archive » Finding time to write (even if you have kids)
  4. Good Morning!
    I’m a “Purpose writer”. I write about selling real estate, to train and motivate my real estate agents
    agents. I suspect many are like me – writing to very mundane purpose . . . I WANT TO write something meaningful. Tough stuff.
    I’m “Format frustrated”. I don’t have the time to write a short story, but I do have the minutes
    to write down some lines of what may someday be a song – I often compose while driving. It
    allviates some of the frustration. . .
    -Scott Linden

  5. Whether writing is priority or not – was good to mull over. I always think that I should start
    writing but never get around to doing it, despite having the time. In addition to the fact that
    it might not be the ‘right time,like you suggest, I feel it is the fear of failing.
    “What if I am not pleased with my writing”…”What if others do not find it good enough”.
    There is another factor: When people appreciate you for some particular writing, we might
    generalise it and expect ourselves to do well in all kinds of writing. I am particularly
    good at writing letters. That does not qualify me for writing fiction…though I would be
    thrilled if I could write one.

  6. Have enjoyed this thread. In regard to Bopanna’s comment “What if I am not pleased with my writing?”==So what?
    Why on earth would you expect your first attempt to be pleasing–to yourself or anyone? Only practice can make you
    a better writer. If we decided to learn piano, no one would expect to play Carnegie on your first attempt. But somehow
    writers believe they should be publishable on their first attempt. Give yourself freedom to learn; enjoy the process.

  7. Hello! I am beginner writer. I found this blog interesting. And I would like to ask permission if I can translate some articles into Russian and use them in my literature site. Of course I will put link of

    let me know about it.

  8. Pingback: Топ Литература » Как найти время, чтоб писать

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