You’ll Never Find Time to Write
Oprah has her list of things she knows “for sure.” One thing we know “for sure” is that the idea of finding time to write is a myth. It’s unlikely that a free hour will ever tap you on the shoulder. And if an hour does magically appear and by some amazing coincidence you have nothing on your to-do list at that moment, your kids, spouse, boss or the good, ol’ television have something lined up for you to do.
Most writers have multiple projects going at once.
- You may be a freelance writer who juggles multiple assignments at any given time.
- Or perhaps you moonlight as a freelancer but have a full-time job that keeps you busy.
- If you’re a coach or a speaker, writing probably isn’t your main focus—even if you know it can help increase your income.
- Maybe your writing has nothing to do with earning a living, it’s just something you love to do. In that case, like other hobbies it may never make it onto your calendar.
The truth is you are never going to “find time” to write. You must make time to write. Most famous writers (as well as writers who are unknown but well paid) set aside a few hours a day to peck away on their keyboards. Day after day, their words spill out onto paper and eventually they produce a book, or workbook, or ebook or article.
If you have an idea rolling around in your head but can’t seem to “find time” to get it into print, try putting yourself on a writing schedule. Here are a few suggestions on how to make writing part of your daily life:
Commit to writing for a certain length of time each day. In Poke the Box, Seth Godin notes that Isaac Asimov wrote and published more than 400 books by sticking to a schedule of writing from 6 a.m. to noon each day.
Unless writing is your full-time job, devoting six hours to writing each day may be impossible—but what about 15 minutes? Could you write for 15 minutes a day this week?
Start with small increments of time and then add five minutes per day until you’re writing for at least one hour each day. The consistency will keep your content fresh in your mind, and seeing the word count increase each day will give you a great sense of accomplishment.
Commit to a specific page count. Determine to write one page per day (double-spaced in 12 point font, please). In one year you’ll have 365 pages. That could be 365 blog posts, a couple of how-to books, or one very hefty novel.
Or, do it by word count. Ernest Hemmingway wrote about 500 words each day. In his lifetime, he produced nine novels and a slew of short stories. Stephen King writes 2,000 words every day when he’s working on a project. He starts in the morning and refuses to stop until his 2,000 words are in each day.
Treat writing like any other part of your daily routine. Schedule time to write each day. Then… show up for your appointment.
Dan notes that nobody tells you: “‘You have to write a chapter a week, or a page a day.’ To write you have to be your own task master. You have to decide that it’s important enough to do and create some sort of a schedule and a timeline to work you through that very challenging process.”
Like any craft, writing takes practice. Develop a habit of writing every day and you just might find that the words begin to flow a little
Need a little more motivation? Jumpstart your writing projects by attending a writers’ retreat. Not only will you have solid blocks of time dedicated to writing while on the retreat, you’ll have the benefit of brainstorming ideas with other writers.
When do you make time to write? How do you fit it into your daily schedule? Leave a comment below and share your advice!