Monday, April 4, 2011

Finding the Right Time to Write

I can’t keep track of how many times people have said to me “I would love to write, but I just don’t have the time” or tell me that they’ve been working on their work in progress for the better part of the last decade.
It’s true.  Life is busy.  I’m busy and I’m sure most published authors are.  I also wrote my first published book while going to school full time and working full time.  I think people would be better to say that “they don’t have a lot of time to write.” It’s really matter of making the best of the time that you have.  Here’s what I can say: 

1.       Set an optimal time to write: choose a time to write that best reflects your best time of day so that you can get the most out of your limited time.  If you are a morning person, this can mean getting up just a little earlier to make your goal.  If you’re an evening person, instead of watching a TV show, write a few hundred words. 

2.       Set achievable goals and keep track of them: I find that a word count goal can be a lot of fun.  Set a big one for your project (60K, 80K, 100K…) and then figure out home many you want to shoot for in an average day.  I personally like to shoot for 1,000, but that doesn’t always happen.  Don’t get discouraged if you get behind.  Just pick yourself up and shoot for the current day’s goal. 

3.       Always had something to write with:  I always have paper and pencil.  Barring that, I can write things on my iPod.  When you are waiting for a few moments in line somewhere, jot down a paragraph.  I have frequent choir practices and once I’m all settled in, if I have a few minutes, I take a second to write something.  I’ve written entire stories this way. 

The biggest thing to remember is that a slow, but steady effort can be much more effective that infrequent bouts of zealous writing.  If you are serious about writing, you need to make it a habit, something you just do every day. 

What sorts of things do you do to make time for writing? 

Also this week:
Win some great books, including “The Canticle Kingdom”:
Preorder my next novel “The Last Archangel” for a great price:


  1. Someone told me today that Stephen King writes every day for eight hours. While I can't vouch for the truthfulness of the statement, I can say that in my past I've NOT written because I couldn't find these blocks of time. That was my excuse anyway. These days, I take what I can get, writing when the baby's sleeping, deciding to watch less TV (or just watch it later), or taking a few minutes before bed. Thanks for the post.
    It Just Got Interesting

  2. Good advice! Hey, I'm about half way through The Last Archangel. I'm loving it!

  3. Great post! I agree 100%--you have to "make the time". My first book, "The Hidden Sun", took the better part of 5 years. The follow up, "The Waxing Moon" was written while editing my first book. I'm now going full guns on WIP #3. When do I write? I'll save that for my blog on this subject. :)

  4. Great advice. I seriously love the thought of you sitting and writing in choir practice. That makes me smile.