For many writers, finding time to put pen to paper is the biggest hurdle. Let’s face it, writing doesn’t bring in the big bucks. That means most writers have day jobs, along with life’s other messy necessities. With only twenty-four hours in the day, how do you find time to write at all?
Heather Sellers said, “Becoming a writer means being creative enough to find the time and the place in your life for writing.” It’s tempting to think that we’ll write when we have more time, when our life suddenly pauses—but that will never happen. Being a writer is about fitting writing into our existing schedule, finding ways to work around the madness.
Here are a few times you may not have thought of to get some writing in.
1. Waiting in the Car
How much time do you spend waiting in the car? Maybe you’re waiting to pick up your kid from school or for a friend who’s carpooling with you. You probably spend time waiting in line at the ATM or drive-throughs. Keep a notepad and pen in your glove box, and when you have a second, reach over and scribble out some words. You may not get a ton of writing done, but just stepping back into your story gets those creative juices flowing and makes it easier to write later.
2. Early in the Morning
Yeah, you’ve heard this one. There’s even a Twitter hashtag devoted to it. (#5amWritersClub is full of amazing, dedicated writers.) Being often repeated doesn’t make it any less true. Early morning is a great time to write. You have no commitments at 5 a.m.! The rest of the world is asleep. It’s quiet. There’s a sort of peace that doesn’t exist at any other time. Set that alarm clock, make yourself a cup of tea, and watch the sunrise with your notebook or laptop. If that doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.
3. Late at Night
The flip side of the morning-writing coin is night-writing. Are you a night owl? Instead of raiding the fridge and binging on Friends reruns, try taking that time to write. Again, there are no distractions. There is nothing else you have to be doing at midnight. Go ahead, write your heart out. Just make sure you get enough sleep. (Good self-care makes for good writing!)
4. While You Eat
For some of us, the only breaks we get during the day are spent at the kitchen table. Try sitting your laptop next to your plate and multitasking. Type a few words between bites of your bagel or forkfuls of pasta.
5. During the Game
Some writers swear they can only focus when a game’s on in the background. Are you a baseball fan? A typical MLB game takes three hours. How much writing could you get done during that time? Write during commercials or while the opposing team is at bat. Write during the golf tournament or March Madness. Watching sports doesn’t usually require your full attention, which makes it the perfect accompaniment to a nice, chill writing session.
6. Between Classes
If you’re a student, you probably spend some time hanging out on campus between classes (unless you are a scheduling guru). Instead of shooting the breeze with your friends, set up camp in an empty classroom or outside and get some writing done.
7. While You Cook
Cooking can involve a lot of down time. Instead of watching water boil or checking the oven ever two minutes, up your laptop and type. Write while the skillet heats up or while veggies are roasting in the oven. By the time the food’s done, you’ll have a great meal and a few hundred words.
Fit Writing Into Your Life
A good writing session doesn’t have to take two hours and result in three thousand words. Fifteen minutes and two hundred words is just as good! It’s not a race, and those small sessions add up. So get creative and figure out how to find a place for writing in your life—not the other way around.
Photo by John Loo