How do you write when you have a million other things to do? How do you find time to sit down and put pen to paper? How do you find time to revise that chapter when you're trying to stop enemies from revising New York City?
How do you write when you're running out of time?
For many of us, writing is an escape and a somewhat necessary one. We feel much more at ease when we have written our ideas down or worked on our novels. But life sees this as leisurely (and yes, sometimes it is) and therefore, when we have a very busy day or series of days, writing time becomes non-existent.
But does it have to be?
Before you read these tips on how to squeeze in writing time, I want you to take several deep breaths, roll your shoulders a bit, relax. If you are reading this post right after it is published, perhaps you are already relaxed and not busy. But if you are reading this post months from now in hope of answers because you, dear reader, are looking for a way to write in a time when things are too busy and robots are destroying your hometown and the only person who can save the town is you... take a breath. Take several. Air is free.
Feel better? Good. Moving on.
1. Take advantage of the early morning. Wake up an hour earlier. Freshen up then come back and open your laptop. Take your breakfast and coffee with you, if you wish. But get words down on the page. Chances are that your home is quiet because everyone else is still asleep. Use this to your advantage. Write until you must stop. In writing before the day really begins, you force writing to be first.
2. Take advantage of the night. This is the same theory as the last point. When the day is done and everyone is quiet, open your laptop and write. Now, there are a couple problems with this plan. It is highly advised that you do not write both late at night and early in the morning. You will not get enough sleep. The other problem is that you may be just too worn out from the day to write. But if night is the only time you can write, then take that time.
3. Write longhand. If you find yourself racing around, running errands, or just no access to a laptop, bring a notebook. Write your story in that notebook when you have small bits of time. The words add up. A notebook is also good for getting down random ideas you have.
4. Word goals. Set yourself a small writing daily goal. 100 words is a tiny and fast amount once you get started. Three sentences is small.
4.2 Accountability. Get a writing friend. That friend will hold you to your writing goals and will also be understanding if you somehow can't make those goals. Also, writing friends are good for word wars and those are small, too.
5. When your work doesn't require thought: Stuck cleaning the whole house for your relative's arrival? Use the time while doing the mundane jobs to think about your writing. Plan the next scene you're going to write. Plan a blog post. Listen to music, writing podcasts, audiobooks-- things that inspire.
6. Read. Reading very much counts of writing. If you don't have time to read, you don't have time or skills to write. Stephen King said that. If you're stuck in your writing, try to read. Or listen to an audiobook. It may help you get unstuck and also serve as that escape writing provides.
These are my tips for how to get writing done when you're busy. But sometimes, you really just can't write.
And this is okay.
Take a break if you need it. Take a breath, crash on the couch, and watch My Little Pony.
There is a saying that says if you're a writer, you have to write everyday. This is not true. While it is a good practice, you do not have to write everyday. No one's process has to be yours.
The other good news is that you have plenty of time to write in the grand scheme of things. You are not running out of time.
Take a breath. Finish your work. Write worlds.
PS: Our Twitter Chat this month will be on Thursday, the 26th, at 8:30 PM EST. Please join us!