Monday, August 24, 2015

Making the Time to Write When You're Busy

As the summer ends and the school year begins I am faced with too much to fill my plate and nothing I can give up. So what do you do when you're faced with these dilemmas day after day? You still write. You write in any spare moment even for just a few minutes.

I'd be a hypocrite if I said I've never put my writing on hiatus, but this post is just as much for me as it is for everyone else out there. We need to stay pumped, focused, and...sane.

Free stock photo of man, person, woman, face

So how do you make the time to write when it seems like every minute of your day is spoken for?

  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you need to: If you're a morning person then you're a weirdo, but a weirdo who can manage to function like a normal human being before two cups of coffee.
  • Outline or brainstorm story ideas on your cell phone or tablet: It's surprising how much you can get onto paper when you know what it is you want to write. By taking some time on the bus/subway, before a meeting, in line, or in the bathroom (hey, some of my best thinking happens in the bathroom) to plan the next moments of your story or your next blog post you can double your writing productivity!
  • Pack your lunch: If you are like most other writers, you have a day job that pays the bills. Instead of taking your full hour of lunch to go out to eat or to run home, pack a lunch and use your hour wisely at your desk. This could mean an extra 45 minutes of writing time every day
  • Make yourself write: Most of the time it's not our schedules that get in the way of writing, it's ourselves. Are you watching too much TV? Do you spend too much time browsing the internet for nothing in particular? Cut these activities out and you'll likely find huge windows of time that can be used for something much better. Can't keep yourself from checking those incoming notifications? Try temporary website blocking services like Cold Turkey to keep you on track for as long as you want.
  • Use nap time wisely: I'm not a mom yet, nor do I pretend to know how hard the job is, but I do know that most kids take naps. The mothers I know usually use that time to clean, cook, or take a nap themselves to prepare for round two. Instead of doing these things (except for the occasional naps...every mommy deserves some rest) write during nap time and have the kids help with the cleanup and cooking if they are able. 3 year-olds can learn some incredibly useful tidying skills. Think of it as an investment.
  • Stay up past your bed time: If the day whizzed by without any writing, take a few minutes before bed to pound a few hundred words out. If you're anything like me, your head is clearer in the later hours and your creative juices flow a bit easier.
I hope we can all get a bit of use out of this tip list in the coming months. Keep writing!


  1. Waking up half an hour early is a common one for me. I am also a fan of what I call the "crap draft" - these usually happen late at night. I have an idea, I sort of know what I want to say, I mock it up in draft so I don't lose the thought, save the draft, call it a night, and come back to it when I have more energy to flesh it out (and after I've reflected on it a bit more).

    Some great tips here (although my kids don't nap anymore. That was a sad day).

    Best - Louise

  2. LOVE the crap draft (name and idea both)! That's an awesome way to get your idea down and not worry about quality. I have the problem where if I don't know how I want to write something I just procrastinate until I figure it out (which usually happens never). Thanks for the tip!