Saturday, June 8, 2013

When to Write

When Do You Find Time to Write?

That seems to be the question I am asked most often.

It's harder to answer that question today than it was a year ago! But I wanted to blog about it since so many friends of mine are writers looking for the answer...

I write when I run or when I ride my bike or when I hike...I write in the morning...I write in the evenings...I send myself scenes or scene ideas via email throughout the day...I write when reading a book in bed. Basically, I write all day!

So, when do YOU find time to write?

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Morning People

Perhaps it's easiest for you to rise early in the morning and sneak in a thousand words before work or before the kids get up. 

I am NOT a morning person, but since this summer is my writing time, I will definitely become a morning person and rise early to get in a couple thousand words before the day gets busy. 

For me, I started writing regularly (a book and a blog) when my son was 9yrs old. There was no way I could do it when he was little and I was working part time. It was best for me to wait until he was 9. I loved writing at night after he and his dad went to bed. The apartment we lived in was small, so it was quiet and cozy at night. I would put on my music and write way into the late hours. 

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Night Owls
Night Owls

Now that my son is older, I find it harder to write at night since the TV is on into the late hours, but I still force myself to get in a couple thousand words a night. It isn't easy.

How can a writer manage writing time with social time?

For me, I had to communicate with my family when I decided to seriously pursue a writing career in addition to my full time job as a teacher and a mom/wife. 

Blessedly, they understood!

But most importantly, God has understood and provided me the time to devote to planning and plotting a book as well as actually writing it. I admit, when I get home from work, I am beat and I usually have grading to do. So, by the time I turn on my lap top to write a chapter or two, my mind is mush. 

That's why this summer will be my writing time! I have a solid two months to devote to writing in the morning as well as in the evening after dinner. I am blessed to have this time to myself and an understanding family that supports my dreams. 

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Make the Time

I highly recommend having that conversation with your family first. Let them know your plan, but also listen to their concerns. How often will you write each week? Will you be able to spend time with them? What about activities, ministries, events?

In other words...what they really want to know is: What about us?

So be sure to listen to their concerns and assure them that they will see you, you will spend time with them, and life will continue on. Set aside special time for family each week, for exercise (stress relief time) to take care of yourself, and a date night with your spouse.

No, you won't be able to excel at each of these. Something will have to give. So, you perfectionists will have to realize you can't be perfect at everything and that's OK. Let go and let the Lord take over. 

Just write what you can when you can and here are some tips I use:

  • Plan ahead: organize your thoughts into a journal or outline of some sort. 
  • Email: send yourself ideas you have for your story throughout the day. No, you won't remember them later on, so email yourself!
  • Carry a small notebook with you at all times: jot down ideas as you're waiting in line or reading in bed or talking to someone about a book (your book). This really helps!
  • Schedule writing times in your calendar: these reminder pop-ups on Outlook really help keep you set on a writing time when you get home. Plus, the reminders get me motivated!

I hope these tips help. Yes, it is difficult to make time to write each day, but it can be done. As I always tell my son: if it's important to you...if you are truly passionate about it...then you WILL make time for it. 

Your turn: How do you make time to write each week? Do you set word count goals for yourself?



  1. Unfortunately, I haven't been making time to write. Time to blog...yes. Time to work on my Gee, do you think having 8 blogs and 3 websites has anything to do with that? Or that I manage another website and blog for our writing group. How about the book reviews and blog posts I do for our local Christian book store.

    So, I guess I'm writing all the time, but working on my novel...not.

    1. It's hard, Jan, I know. But maybe the Lord has you doing other things right now. He has a purpose for everything.

      I'll be praying for you!! Hang in there.

  2. My best writing time is early morning before anyone is up - it's cozy, as you said, and quiet. It gets the story started in my mind. Sometimes I take a lunch break and write another 30 minutes. Then a couple of times a week, I'll skip TV and go in the other room to write while hubby watches his favorite shows.

    I did have the conversations with loved ones and still need to explain sometimes - "Yes, I'm writing, even though I'm staring into space - yes, I'm writing, even though there's a book in my hand. I'm stuck on how to begin this chapter and wanted to see how this writer did it." But I'm also blessed that my family supports my dreams.

    1. That's so true, Dana. We're writing even when there's no computer in front of us. We are blessed to have family support. God is good to us!

  3. What I have found most helpful is the use of a timer. My goal is to write five days a week. I figured out that if I can write a minimum of 36 minutes each day, it all adds up to three hours per week. I do a six minute stream of consciousness warm up in a notebook, and then 30 minutes at my computer on my work in progress. If I'm on a roll and have the time, I keep going after that. If not, at least I'm putting in an average of three hours a week. Writing every day keeps the brain going on the work, even when you are doing other things, and I find this helps immensely. There are Mondays when I don't feel like doing it, but when 36 minutes is such a minor time committment, how can I say no?