Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Hi everyone! As I begin the fifth (and final!) draft of my first psychological thriller novel, The Long Shadow on the Stage, I have been reflecting on how difficult it can be to find the time to write. I know that many writers struggle to find the time. Working a full-time job, being in a relationship and having a family, spending time on your hobbies, hanging out with friends… all these things can consume your time if you let them. The most important thing to realize is YOU HAVE THE TIME. It’s only a matter of how you use it.
1. Take advantage of when the house is quiet.
One of the ways I have been able to spend time writing at least a few nights every week and on the weekend is because my husband decided to try rock climbing about 9 months ago. When he first tried it with a few friends, he immediately loved it and signed up for a monthly membership at a local rock climbing club. He goes rock climbing several times a week. On those nights, when our house is completely quiet and I’m the only one home, I have no one to distract me, so I can write, edit, research, or work on social media posts to promote my novel.
2. Set writing goals.
Another way I find the time to write is by setting goals for myself every week or every month. Having goals to reach helps motivate me to write, even at the times when I sometimes don’t feel up to it. Knowing that if I can edit three chapters in a week or write several thousand words, it will result in a novel; that’s an awesome thing to think about! I love knowing that all my hard work will pay off.
3. Get rid of distractions.
Minimizing distractions is another thing that helps me. If I start doing laundry or washing dishes, I will feel like I have to clean everything and don’t have the time to write. It is also easier if I make sure the TV is off and noise must be minimal. Listening to music tends to help me focus.
4. Schedule time for writing.
You don’t need to schedule hours at a time to write. You can take 15 or 30 minutes in the morning or before bed to work on your novel. If you have a long lunch break at work, you might be able to write for part of that time. You might not be able to write every day if you have a lot of work and family obligations, but even writing every other day or on certain days is a huge step. Scheduling time to write is important. If you just leave it up to chance, you’ll never finish your novel.
5. Stop making up excuses.
Don’t put off writing because you think you don’t have enough time. Don’t stop yourself from sitting down at your computer and writing because you think you’re not good enough or you won’t sell any copies of your novel. Don’t tell yourself you have too many other things you should be working on instead. There will always be other things you could be doing, but the question is how much do you care about finishing your novel?
6. Remember your motivation for writing.
What is it that drew you to writing in the first place? What inspires you? Maybe it’s simply the thought of being a published author or thinking about seeing your novel on a shelf in a bookstore. Maybe you’re trying to impact other people’s lives or inspire other people to write. Maybe you want to quit your full-time job because writing is your true passion and you’re trying to make a living from writing instead. Whatever your motivation is for writing, sometimes it’s necessary to remind yourself why you started writing.
For more great writing tips and resources, Joanna Penn’s website has been incredibly helpful for me as a first-time author! Check out her blog post for more ways to find the time to write. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2018/03/28/how-do-you-find-time-to-write/