I just don’t have time to write.
And they’re truly discouraged by this, when they really, really want to write, because as all of us writers know, writing is something we feel called upon to do. It’s not a chore. It’s a passion, a calling. It’s therapeutic, it’s energizing, it’s pleasurable, it’s restorative. It’s fuel for our soul. So yes, we need to write.
When asked for advice about finding time to write, I often didn’t take it seriously in the past. I’d simply suggest that if you want to write, you have to make it a priority in your life. And that if you don’t, then you’re not a writer.
And that’s all true, but the straight, simple answer isn’t enough.
If you Google tips on making time to write, there are plenty to choose from, and most of them helpful. There’s one that suggests you block out a particular time each day or each week to write, thereby making it a ritual. Other tips include dropping something else from your life, like some of your social media time, television, or your book club. If you have too many chores on your list, maybe you can hire someone to houseclean, or get your partner and/or kids to pick up more of the slack.
All of those things will help you prioritize.
But what about the writer who says she still can’t find time to write? That there simply aren’t enough hours in the week to carve out even a couple for writing, no matter what she tries.
The following advice is for those who are still pulling out their hair because for days or even weeks, they absolutely cannot find time to get back to their novel or short story.
Keep a pad of paper, or scraps of paper, within reach at all times. For me, it usually means my pockets are stuffed with little scraps of paper, which eventually flutter their way to my desk. If you’re not into such antiquated tools as a paper and pen, use your smartphone or tablet. The point is, every time a thought occurs to about the writing project you’re working on, jot it down. These may be plot ideas, something related to your character or setting, or even a turn of phrase that pops into your mind. It might be one sentence, or it might be six paragraphs. It can even just be point form.
It’s important to stop whatever you’re doing and take a minute to write these thoughts down as they occur. Not only will these scraps be useful to your writing project, they will make you feel like you are writing. Or least that your project is fresh in your mind, and that you’re making progress, even when you’re not sitting down at your computer. And when you do sit down at your computer, you’ll be more efficient because you’ve already made progress on working out your plot and characters. You’ll be able to sit down and start writing.
Another suggestion is to read. Yes, I know, if you don’t have time to write, how will you have time to read? I read everywhere I can – at the gym between repetitions, waiting at the hair salon, waiting at a doctor’s office, on my lunch break at work, or while waiting for the pot to boil. Always at bedtime as well, even if I’m dead tired.
Reading informs your writing, and writers MUST read. Can you imagine a musician who never listens to music, or never goes to a concert? Reading will inspire you to write.
Find what works for you, and find a way to write, even if it is piecemeal and unorthodox!
Tracey Richardson has begun working on her ninth novel for Bella Books. Her eighth, “The Song In My Heart”, will be released in April 2015. Twitter: trich7117; www.traceyrichardson.net