Saturday, March 20, 2010


A Half Dozen Hints for Making Time To Write 
© 2010 Katherine Swarts

For all who are serious about becoming authors, but despair of ever being able to fit writing time into their schedules.
One thing that separates true writers from wannabes is that wannabes spend almost no time actually writing, but plenty of time talking about their writing dreams. And a good deal of that talk is about “when I find time to write”:
“That would make a good book—I’ll write it all down if I ever find time.”
“I’ve got a great idea for a novel—I’ll write it as soon as I find time.”
“I could be the next John Grisham, if I could just find time to write.”
Most such people never do find time—because they keep hoping for weeks or months of empty hours waiting to be filled. Nothing else happening. No other responsibilities. No interruptions.
No such thing.
Real writers don’t waste time waiting to find time. They make definite plans to write during the time they have.
Here’s how:
1. Make up your mind first. Repeat until it sinks in, “I am a writer, and writers make time to write.” Firmly believing this also helps you deal with people who consider their interruptions more important than your “hobby.”
2. Don’t feel you must write a whole book—or even a chapter—at every sitting. Think of writing as a marathon rather than a sprint. A page a day, six days a week, equals a three-hundred-page manuscript within a year—and still allows you Sundays and holidays off.
3. Be prepared to make sacrifices. If you’re typical, you’ll be working around a full-time job, family responsibilities, and other interests or hobbies. As the first step in planning your writing schedule, list all the things you do regularly. Then decide which of these you absolutely cannot give up—such as family time, church, or your garden. The remaining items—evening television, computer games, sleeping late on weekends—are things you can “trade” for writing time. Be ruthless; many things you “can’t live without” are actually, on second look, expendable.
Once you’ve decided what you can give up, remove all temptations to go back to it. Take drastic measures where necessary: cancel a club membership; delete all games from your computer; lock the TV room and give your spouse the only key.
4. Literally write writing time into your schedule. Once it’s in your daily planner, it’s hard to excuse neglecting it.
Plan on writing for at least fifteen minutes a day, five or six days a week. Try for the same time slot every day, preferably one when your mind is at its clearest—before work if you’re a morning person, before supper or bed if you function best in the evening.
5. If you’re desperate for writing time, get up half an hour earlier (if you’re a morning person), or go to bed half an hour later (if you’re a night person). No more than half an hour at first. If you show no symptoms of sleep deprivation after a month, and you still want to write more, you can consider extending your “extra” waking time to an hour. Know when to stop, though. Trying to live on four hours of nightly sleep will come back to haunt you.
6. Stick with your new writing schedule, no matter how hard it seems at first. After a month it’ll be a habit, and continuing will be little trouble.
But while continuing may soon be easy, getting started may pose a problem unrelated to time. What do you do if you genuinely want to write, are willing to make time to write—but can't think of anything to write about? The next article will explore that question.


  1. Thank you for the great advice, Katherine. It's all doable. Hallelujah!

  2. Great advice! Thanks for posting this. Have a wonderful weekend, all.

  3. Good blog and so true. The only thing almost as annoying is the person who says 'I have a sure fire idea for a best seller -- you write it, get it published and we'll share the money that pours in'

  4. I've been writing a lot lately, but becoming a wannabe writer sounds easier.

    So, when I write my bestseller ...

  5. "Literally write writing time into your schedule."
    Excellent point, and one well taken. Unless one's a full-time writer, too many other things certainly get in the way unless writing is pencilled in!

  6. @Karen, Blessings back at you. Thanks for stopping by. I love the response Katherine's posts get.

    @Pat, we must know the same people. LOL.

    @David, LOL.

    @Jessi, glad you stopped by. I know you know all this already, but it's always nice to hear from you.

  7. Katherine,
    Thanks for this article! You offer some great advice & encouragement here. Now, I just might find the time to complete that next best seller. :-)

  8. Thanks for this, Katherine. Your timing is perfect. I was feeling unmotivated and wishing I could find a secret pill to get my butt in gear. Guess I know exactly what I need to do, just had to hear it.

    Thanks Joylene for sharing your blog with so many outstanding experts. And women too.

  9. It all comes down to that "butt in chair" principle, but what a lot of good ideas for accomplishing that. Thanks, Katherine and Joylene.

  10. Deb, Cameron, PS and Carol, thanks for stopping by and reading Katherine's post. Your support means a lot.

  11. Good points - My best time is Saturday nights 9PM 'til 3 or 4AM. During the week it's notes & edits, My brain is usually too fried M thru F.

    Hoping to settle into my routine again in a few weeks after my temporary move is wrapped up.

  12. Hi Dave. When my kids was young, I used to stay up all night writing. LOL. Now I'm lucky if I see 9 PM. I love writing early in the morning though. ...

    Who am I kiddin! I love writing when it's sunny outside and I hear kids screaming from the shores of Cluculz Lake!

  13. I must have hit a "bestseller" topic here--by far the most and the quickest comments I've gotten to date. Special kudos to Pat Brown for mentioning people whose idea of hiring a ghostwriter is getting someone to do all the writing work and then accept payment on commission. Writing is the only professional field I know of where people routinely expect you to give away your hard work for two figures or less--a view encouraged by too many amateurs (in all senses of the word) who are willing to do just that.

    (Well, maybe not quite the ONLY professional field. At least most writers aren't nagged during social gatherings to perform on an impromptu stage or to dispense free medical advice!)

    Cameron, there's an article you might be interested in ("Seeking the Muse") at


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