It takes the average person a minute or less to read a single book page. It takes me anywhere from five minutes to hours to write a single page, depending on the scene. So, yeah. Writing takes time. And you’re busy. We’re all busy. We all have work or school or other obligations that must be met day after day, leaving little to no free time to do anything—let alone write. So how then, do so many people manage to write novels? Do these people magically have more hours in a day? They must have less busy lives—they have more free time than you do, right?
Finding time to write isn’t about having less going on in your life. It’s about prioritizing and making time. Here are some quick tips to squeeze writing into your day, no matter how busy you are.
1. Keep a notebook next to your bed. Those random spouts of brilliance you have when you’re half asleep? Don’t just roll over and forget about it. Grab a pen and scribble it down even if you have to do with your eyes half-open.
One of my favorite writing quotes is “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
― Saul Bellow
2. Write in intervals. If you can’t carve out an hour of your day to spend in front of the computer, take five minutes. If you’re in school, write a paragraph between classes or on an off period. Write while you eat lunch. Write for five minutes when you first get up in the morning, before jumping in the shower. Write for five minutes when you first get home. Write before you go to sleep. Write while you eat breakfast. Write whenever you possibly can. Carry a notebook around with you for whenever you have a free second—a cab/train ride, waiting for someone to show up for a lunch date, ect.
3. Put your technology to use. Almost everyone now-a-days carries around a cell phone at all times. Guess what? Every phone has a notepad function on it. Never used it? Get familiar with it. It’s lighter than a notebook and easy to whip out when you’re standing in line at Starbucks or sitting in a drive-through or waiting for a bus. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect. Just take advantage of those small bouts of free time and write.
4. Use a voice recorder (like the one on your phone) while you drive. Press record as you pull out of your neighborhood in the morning, and just talk until you make it to school or work. Describe what you see, a character you thought up, a scene you dreamt about—whatever. Just get those ideas out. Even if it sounds horrible at first, chances are, at least one thing you say will be useful.
5. Prioritize. I want you to close your eyes. Now picture yourself when you first get home after a long day at work or school. What do you do first? Do you kick off your shoes and relax for an hour in front of the TV? Do you go grab a bite with friends? Take a power nap? Fool around on Google/Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Goodreads/YouTube/WordPress/Instagram? Whatever it is you normally do, stop. Take that hour or two that you use for pleasure and write. If you want to be a writer, after all, nothing should be more relaxing and pleasurable than writing. 😉
The problem with people complaining about not having enough time to write is they have more free time than they realize. Be productive. Put your time to good use.
If you really want to write that novel (or short story or poem or whatever) make a promise to yourself. Promise yourself that you’re all in. If you make an effort to squeeze writing into your day, soon enough, it’ll accumulate into more writing than you’d think you’d be able to produce.
Do you ever feel like you don’t have time for writing? What do you do? Share your thoughts in the comments and get writing 😉
- Write. Every. Day. (mfrankparsons.wordpress.com)
- Being an Author While Working Full-Time (megancashmanbooks.wordpress.com)
- Taking some time to write (sophiekingham.wordpress.com)