I’ve been very busy lately. Between book reviews, writing gigs, and my home life, I can barely stop to think, let alone write. It’s an unfortunately common problem for writers. Considering that society, particularly American society, seems to expect more and more of people, it’s no wonder writers struggle to stay afloat. The question becomes: how do we make time for writing?
Writers at all levels have responsibilities which take precedent over writing. Family, friends, household chores, a 9-5 job, it’s no wonder they have to scrape together all the time they can for writing. That’s excluding the marketing and publicity they have to generate once something of theirs gets published, and don’t get me started on editing.
Often when I read articles about fitting time for writing, the author treats the matter as though it’s just as easy as telling people to leave you alone for a while or turning the TV and social media off. It really isn’t.
We can’t always force our schedule to allow space for a solid hour or so of writing. It’s even harder when other people, like employers and family, are involved. What should we do if we can’t reserve a long chunk of our day for writing?
The answer is obvious, although challenging in practice: take minutes here and there to write down whatever is on your mind. I’ve personally found that my brain wants to write and makes the time for writing when I’m trying to get to sleep. While I really just want to sleep, I still keep a notebook beside my bed and spend a few minutes–whether it’s five or thirty–writing the scene or story idea that has popped into my groggy head. The notes app on my iPhone has also proved helpful in such situations. Whether or not I can decipher my writing in the morning is a different story entirely.
Take a notebook with you everywhere or, at the very least, make your notes app easily accessible. Five minutes on the bus, five minutes during your lunch break, five minutes while waiting outside your kids’ school, it can really add up. This form of time management doesn’t always make for the best writing since the interruptions can jar your thought process. However, would you rather start out with crappy writing or no writing at all?
Some people can carve out an hour or so from their lives and write better that way. In a perfect world, that’s probably how we would all like to make time for writing. We don’t live in a perfect world. We have distractions and stubborn schedules which can’t be rearranged without some part of our lives tumbling down. That’s why we have to take our writing whenever we can get it; if that means stealing a few minutes here and a few minutes there, well, that’s just the sacrifice we have to make to continue with our craft.
Have advice for making time to write? Any tricks to sneak writing in when it seems impossible? Leave your thoughts in the comments.