How to find time to write


I read a blog post on Books & Such by an agent who listed 3 different ways that people find the time to write. One was to get up a couple of hours earlier than everyone else and do it at the start of the day. The second was to take one day a week to do your writing in bulk. And the third was the “fit in” technique, which is basically to fit your writing in around the rest of your life. The first I find impossible (I am not a morning person), anyone with jobs and family will find the second almost impossible (I can’t remember the last time I had a whole day to myself) so most people are left with the “fit in” approach. It’s no wonder most people say they never have time to write.

But there are lots of excuses not to write. The “fit in” method can seem a little haphazard and unproductive; it’s hard to get back into writing something when I know I only have an hour or two (except for revisions on a print-out which can be easier, particularly on trains or airplanes). But when stats show we’re slumped in front of the telly for a few hours each night or on facebook or twitter, at least we know we do have the time to do something. As any writer will tell you, it’s all about practice and habit. As Todd Moss puts it in “How to write a novel and keep your day job” it’s all about being organised, getting to bed early, keeping fit and er, being hyper-organised. So turn off the telly, plan everything and get going!

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3 thoughts on “How to find time to write

  1. Hi Ellen, I always enjoy your newsletters! I am not a morning person either but I do a couple of hours of work, usually social media mid morning and then I write for a few hours, then read, then get the manuscript I keep in a drawer and work on it. I wish I were hyper organized but as soon as I get involved in what I’m working on I end up with manuscripts and books all over the place. I fit in my other work as I can. Then I work again later at night unless the day was particularly productive. I guess that makes it a segmented approach. I do a lot of work subconsciously when doing other things and when I return to the writing the answer is there. I suppose it works because I work everyday. Best to you!!
    @MJPayneAuthor, twitter

    • Thanks for your lovely response. Wow, sounds like you are always working and pretty focused; it sounds like you have a real writing habit going, which makes me quite jealous. I struggle to work on it every day… Best to you too! Ellen

  2. Excellent post, Ellen, as always.
    One thing I might add (seen it from others): “Don’t write to the “end” of something. Stop when the juices are flowing (I know, it’s hard to stop then) but then, when you do “have” that hour or so, you know exactly how to continue…which is what I did last night:
    Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn, main character and North Dakota militia leader in Book 4 of “New World Order Rising” has just announced that at 10 a.m. there will be a prayer service for the 39 fighters killed the day before during a major battle with the UN”s Blue Helmets. (Which they won, BTW.)
    Sorry for the promotion….

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