Time to Write: 3 Tips for Finding That Time

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One of, if not the most, common complaint from would-be writers is lack of time. They want to write, but they don’t have the time to do so. In our busy day-to-day lives, how do we find time to invest ourselves fully in any passion, especially writing?

You look for time and grab it.

It’s easier than we make it out to be.

Time Management

Let’s not bury the lead. Most of writers’ time problems arise from bad time management. It sounds like an echo of what our schoolteachers tried to bash into our minds, but unfortunately, they were completely correct.

For one day, conduct this exercise: carry around a pen and paper, which you should already be doing, and keep track of how you spend your time in one average day.

How much did you sleep? What did you do before you went to work? What did you do on your lunch break? After work? After dinner and before bed?

Be detailed in your record keeping and the next day, take a look at what you wrote. Notice you scrolled through Facebook from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. You watched… how many episodes of New Girl? When you woke up, you stared at the ceiling for 30 minutes when you could have been writing.

You’re looking for ways to cut the fat from your day. Do you really need to do the things you do every day? Many of us fall prey to distractions, to that extra hour of unneeded sleep—to anything that takes precious writing time away from us. Most of us have time to write. We’re just using that time for other things.

Seize the Hour

Choose a time that is yours and yours alone. Somewhere on the clock, there are 15 minutes to an hour that you can claim for your work. Look at your schedule and decide when you can shut the door to the outside world and focus only on writing. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t check your email. Just write.

When I was younger, I thought I was a night writer. But, as the months (years) went by, I realized I was too busy at night and there were too many interruptions. Now, I write in the morning, while everyone is drinking their coffee and getting ready for the day or still sleeping. There are fewer distractions and everyone is too grumpy to want to talk to me.

Find that time for you. Write during the time you feel most productive or, at the very least, during the time when life will be the least likely to interrupt you. Hold this time sacred and let nothing get in the way of it. Even if you can only find 15 minutes a day to write, you can still write. Those 15 minutes add up quickly over the weeks, and  you will find yourself more prolific than if you keep telling yourself every day you don’t have time to do what you want to do.

A Good Habit

If you want to be a writer, writing should be a habit. The best piece of advice I ever received was, “Inspiration is for amateurs.” I’ve talked this point to death on this blog, for good reason. Do not wait for inspiration to write because you will be waiting a long, long time for that book to form if you do. Just like a job or working out for bodybuilders—you have to get up, sit down, and get to work whether you want to or not.

If you do this long enough, inspiration will come. If you keep doing it after that, inspiration will leave again. Every day can’t be the best day, but you have to show up anyway. Keep your nose to the grind, and you’ll find yourself switching from “I wish I could write,” to “I am a writer.”

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About Author

John Paul Schmidt is a former news journalist. Now he's a freelancer by day and bartender by night while he works on his novel.

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