How to make time for writing!

clockHow to Carve Out Some Writing Time in Your Busy Schedule

Don’t you sometimes wish that you could sit down in front of your computer and type away for six or eight hours a day? I hear myself say, “If only I had time, I would sit down and finish my book. And then I’d start the next one that is already entering its gestational phase in my crowded mind.” Most of us still have to earn a living, maintain a household, or both. But the desire to write just does not go away. So, how do we squeeze in writing time and still be in our boss’s/family’s good books?

Stephen King wrote Carrie while he was still teaching English to high school students. He would go home at night and place his notepad on a board on his lap because there was no room for a desk their mobile home. William Golding was one up on King, and wrote Lord of the Flies while his students were quietly completing the assignments that he would give them to do. Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, wrote while she cleaned her house. Apparently, she kept a notebook under her apron and would scribble between chores. John Grisham was still a busy lawyer in a law firm before his second book, The Firm, became a blockbuster and brought in enough money so that he could turn to full-time writing. He would arrive at his law office at five in the morning, six days a week, and work on his writing.

What we learn from these great authors is that when you have made writing your priority, nothing much will stop you from writing. But here are a few pointers that may be of some help:

  1. Break it up: If you write just 250 words every day (that’s shorter than this blog is at this point, right now), then you will complete an unedited 90k novel in only ONE YEAR. Write 500 words per day (possibly the length of this blog when I’m done) and you can spend six months editing and polishing it, and still write one book a year.
  2. Keep a notebook with you AT ALL TIMES. And then make a point of writing something (anything) in it at every opportunity: during lunch at the office, while waiting for someone, in the loo. Your spurts of ad-hoc writing will encourage creativity and when you do sit down at your computer, your brain will be primed and the crazy thoughts you came up with earlier sometimes add a new, much-needed dimension to your work
  3. The Amazing Alarm Clock: Probably the best weapon in the writer’s arsenal. Just place it far away from your bed so that you actually have to get up to turn it off. By then you will be awake and decide that you may as well begin working on your blockbuster. Then sit down and produce those 250 or 500 words.

I hope that you can see that finding time is doable. But don’t be too despondent if you don’t get your quota in on the first day. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

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5 thoughts on “How to make time for writing!

  1. I only recently adopted number two in order to help me not forget ideas that cross my mind at inopportune moments, like when being held up in a dark alley in the middle of the night. However I think number one will work best when I start my rewrite of Grapes of Wrath as a comedy. Three is a great suggestion. Many times I’ve gotten up from writing to turn off my alarm so that I could go back to writing. Yes, I got a lot more writing done, but for some reason—not as much sleep. But in all seriousness, I stand to benefit from all of your suggestions (which I will try) as I have none to offer in my own defense. :O)

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    • Thanks for the comments. I use all the methods, as I need to keep finding novel ways (etp) of approaching writing. I get bored quickly with any one way of doing anything. That’s why I like your blog so much; the laughter emanating from it shatters the box that keeps rebuilding itself around me.
      I also think I sometimes takes writing too seriously and end up taking myself too seriously. It’s a serious problem, seriously.
      Can’t wait to read Grapes of Wrath comedy. :-]

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      • I think blogging is a great way to develop ideas for writing, and although its not like writing a novel, I still see it as a series of stories which don’t require the investment of time that a novel does. Not that I boycott novels or anything like that (oh I hope those photos of me boycotting in front of Random House don’t turn up). And since we’re being serious, thanks Dorothy for the compliments. I enjoy giving people a good laugh for the day, and that is the only purpose for my blog, I want it to be a place for people to go and escape from the day to day grind. I believe writing has serious aspects to it, but like you, we don’t want to lose perspective. After my comedy version of The Grapes of Wrath I think I’m going to try a horror story about a cat living in a hat. :O)

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