Sunday, September 16, 2018

4 Ways to Find Time to Write

I tend to have two types of schedules: busy and not busy. Either I can afford to spend all day working on my novel, reading a book, and traveling to whichever castle or library I want; or I have to go to work, rush through my lunch break, finish my schoolwork, teach a class, and maybe squeeze in some family OR reading time.

Right now, I have the busy schedule. I’ve heard of writers finding time during their lunch break to write a page or two, but seriously, sometimes I barely find time in my lunch break to eat. I work part-time, so I only get one 15-minute break a day. That and I decided to teach two online writing classes, and I’m finishing up my latest master’s degree. Hahaha! What have I done?

Where in the world do I find time to write?

I’m still keeping up with my blog posts, so obviously, I’m still writing. No, the answer is not a time machine. I seem to have lost that in 1942. Don’t ask.

Here are just a few of the ways I find time to do what I enjoy:

1)      Make the Time

Okay, so I can’t just go to work and say, “Hey, right now is my prime writing time, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to pull out my laptop.” That’s rude. Instead, I take the time I have outside of work and fit it in then. For example, I spend less time on Pinterest and more time writing my novel in my physical journal or typing up a blog post on my computer.

I don’t find the time to write. I make the time. I have to prioritize. (This doesn’t just apply to writing but also to reading. I usually pick one or the other on the days I work.)

As such, I’m no longer cooking as much. I throw some pasta on to boil or some schnitzel in the oven and get work done while the food is cooking. Similarly, I don’t take the dog outside as much anymore. Poor pooch. Don’t worry, though. My sister is still on summer break, and I have recruited her in the family attempts to get her out of the house.

2)      Daydream

Exercise your imagination. The advantage to this method is that it can be used almost anywhere. Back when I was studying for my MA in English Literature, my brain would come up with the best plot lines or characters while I was working on essays.

Writing for me is 50% typing or scratching with a pen and 50% daydreaming. A lot of times, I’ll write poetry or catchy lines in my head while I’m out and about, then come home and write it down later.

If you can, pursue activities that encourage thinking. For me, this is primarily biking to work. I get all my best ideas when I exercise or do the housework.

Don’t forget to carry a notebook with you. I do. Unfortunately, I’m the worst at actually keeping notes. I’m more likely to type up notes on my computer and later jot down the basic overview of stories in my notebook for portable writing.

3)      Write Uninterrupted

Put up a do not disturb sign. Turn off the internet. Move to a deserted island and correspond with people via passenger pigeons. (Yes, I know one of those is an impossibility.) Do what you have to do to write without distractions.

Find your writing niche. For me, I like to write from the desk in my room and read on the couch downstairs. That way, my brain associates my room with work and the living room with leisure.

Once you find what works for you, go from there. It takes some practice, sure. But your stories will thank you despite your schedule.

4)      Read

Wait, I thought I was talking about writing? Yes, but writing without reading is like exercising without stretching or drinking water, like cooking without any dishes, like traveling without taking any money. Can it be done? Sure. Should it be done? No.

Reading is a great way to feed your imagination, to expand your knowledge, to hone your style.

If you can’t find enough time to read, make the time.

Let’s chat! Is your schedule busy or leisurely? How do you make time to write? To read? What does your writing space look like?



  1. Oh yes I love these! I feel like people assume that writers have "all this spare time" but we do a heck of a lot of sacrifices....of people (shh) BUT also of other hobbies! I don't watch TV and I cut down on pinterest/instagram etc. if I'm really pushing to get through something. And I definitely really utilise the non-writing times by just imagining my story. That way when I DO have time I get straight to it and don't have to stare at an empty page!

    1. Those are some great strategies! I don't tend to watch a lot of TV either, and my imagination is almost always running. Thanks for the comment, Cait!