How to Find Time to Write

by Mistina Picciano on January 7, 2011

Many of us have writing projects we’re struggling to find time for, whether it’s a blog or the Great American Novel.

Unfortunately, a lot of us have bought into the myth of writing as this almost-mystical experience that demands huge swaths of uninterrupted time, during which we call forth our muse for divine inspiration.

Too bad it doesn’t work that way.

Something invariably gets in the way of those grand writing plans. Maybe it’s an impromptu meeting or a telephone call. Or some last-minute deadline crops up.

The only way writing happens is this: you decide you’re going to write, come hell or high water. And you do it.

Making writing time

If you want to get those writing projects done, you’ll have to do one of two things:

  • Schedule time for writing.
  • Cobble together writing moments.

Sorry. No arcane secrets to share here.

Either you’re going to schedule the time to write, and you’ll keep that date with yourself. Or you’re not, in which case you move on to Plan B.

The disciplined approach

For many people, writing does require a certain mindset, some time to get the brain into a creative flow. The only way you’ll have the luxury of writing under these ideal conditions is by seizing the opportunity.

Try these suggestions:

  • Set your alarm an hour earlier (or stay up an hour later). Either way, you get the idea. Make your day longer, and commit to using this time for your writing. Start the day by writing a blog entry. You might be surprised how this kick-starts your productivity.
  • Take a writing break in the afternoon. Squeeze in some time during your lunch hour, or write during the afternoon when your energy might be lagging. Grab a cup of coffee to make the experience something you look forward to.
  • Become a weekend writer. If your workweek is packed, set aside time each weekend for your writing goals. Write two or three blog entries, one article or a single chapter. Your steady progress might inspire you to find more writing time.

Patchwork-quilt approach

Can’t commit to a full hour for writing? No worries. You can train yourself to write on demand. Just give yourself every opportunity to write whenever inspiration strikes.

  • Keep pen and paper handy. If you’re waiting for a meeting to start or stuck in line at a grocery store, jot down some headlines or story ideas. Write the first paragraph of your newsletter article. Keep a pad in your gym bag or next to the shower.
  • Take baby steps. Start by committing to five or ten minutes each day. Promise yourself a five-minute writing break after you check your morning email or finish an important task. Develop your writing muscles, and see how much more easily the words flow.
  • Stockpile your writing. If you find yourself stuck on a train or plane, take advantage of the opportunity to write your daily quota—and to get ahead. Write an extra article or blog entry, and you’ll have a free pass for those days when your muse goes on strike.

If all else fails, consider reaching out to your friendly neighborhood copywriting agency. You can still get credit for your brilliant ideas—and have time to tackle more enjoyable or profitable tasks.

What’s your favorite tip for finding writing time? Please share. And let us know if you’d like to appear as a guest blogger.

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