Finding Time To Write
All of us have busy lives. Full-time jobs, family, and school are some common ones, but there are many more. How can we find the time to write when we have so much going on in our lives?
Track How You Spend Your Time
The first step is to track how you spend your time. Take a week to record every activity you do during the day and the approximate time of day you do them.
For example, mine would look something like this:
- 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Wake Up/Morning Routine/Breakfast
- 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Social Media
- 10:00 a.m. – 11 a.m. Writing Time
- 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Homework for School
- 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Writing Time/Reading/Appointments
- 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Social Media/Free Time
- 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Cook/Family Dinner/Wash Dishes
- 6:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m. Meetings for Groups
- 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wind Down/Bedtime Routine/Reading
- 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Try to Fall Asleep
This works for me because I need plenty of time to fall asleep because of my insomnia. I don’t have many responsibilities, either. Yours may look different.
You may ask why I am qualified to help you find time to write if I have no responsibilities. I’ve worked, gone to school, and finished the first draft of a novel at the same time.
This exercise is about tracking how you spend your time. Don’t judge what you are doing. Just record what you do and when.
Find Potential Writing Time
Now that you have a week’s worth of records, the next step is to figure out areas or time blocks where you can write. For example, I spend a lot of time on social media that I could spend writing instead.
Other areas where you could add in writing time is when you watch TV, when you’re on lunch at work, or even your break, getting up earlier or staying up later. Use your commute to brainstorm, record your ideas with voice-to-text, or listen to writing-related podcasts or audiobooks. Which brings me to my next point.
Change Your Mindset
One of the biggest myths we tell ourselves is that we need uninterrupted time to write. This isn’t true. You can find time to write in the smallest of time windows. Waiting rooms, checkout lines, on hold while on the phone, breaks at work, while the kids are napping or at school, and a variety of other moments are times when we can write.
The trick is to always have a way to write. But this is easy, too. Everyone always has their phone. There are a variety of apps that can transfer the content you write on your phone to your computer, so there’s no excuse. Type a couple words up on your phone in any of the moments mentioned above.
Carry a pen and paper around. You don’t need a desk to write. Think like a journalist, taking notes in the field, or a police detective and carry around a memo pad.
Five minutes of writing per day adds up. Make a goal to write for five minutes every day and you will make progress. It may not be as fast as you would like, but you’ll be making more progress than you were before. You might want to write more once the five minutes are done. The hardest part is getting started.
Make the Changes
Once you have identified areas in your life where you can add in writing time, you need to implement your new writing schedule.
If you can’t find an area in your life to replace with writing, although I highly doubt you won’t, you must make sacrifices. Wake up half an hour earlier to get writing time. Or stay up later. Whatever works.
One caution about writing at night, for those of you with insomnia, is it can make it harder to wind down. For those of you with full-time jobs, it can be a lot harder because you’re so tired from working all day. These are just some things to consider.
There are countless moments of wasted time where you could write. It’s a matter of identifying them and putting them to use.