Note from Kate: Enjoy this guest post from Samantha while I’m still recovering from surgery!
Did you know that almost 80% of Americans think they have a book inside them?
What’s even more crazy is that most of those people will never actually write a book. It isn’t enough to just have a book inside you. You have to get it out and get it on paper. Like I always say, you can’t publish a novel that isn’t written.
Excuses Will Kill Your Writing
The hardest thing about being a writer is actually writing. It is so much easier to talk about, think about, and plan out writing than it is to sit down and actually write.
Good thing for you, I have a free cheat sheet that will kick your excuses to the curb! The ‘No Excuses!’ Cheat Sheet has the 7 most common excuses writers make and how to instantly defeat them. You’ll have a super convenient way of knowing exactly what to tell yourself when these excuses threaten to keep you from achieving your dreams. To get the cheat sheet, click here!
Do you want to know one of the biggest excuses writers give for why they haven’t written? “I don’t have time!”
Everyone has 24 hours in the day. It’s how you use those 24 hours that counts. It’s true that you may have more obligations than the average Joe. A single parent raising three toddlers while working a full-time job is definitely more pressed for time than an unemployed teenager on Summer break. You could even argue that the teenager has way better chances of finishing a novel.
No matter what’s going on in your life, though, you can write your novel if it’s what you really want. Just don’t expect it to be done in a month. Sure, some people can pump out a 90,000 word rough draft in 30 days, but most people can’t. The more obligations you have in life, the longer it’s going to take.
Just remember, if you write one page every day, you’ll have a full-length novel in a year!Where to find time for writing Click To Tweet
What Will I Learn from this Article?
I’m so glad you asked!
This post isn’t about how to make time for writing; it’s about how to find time. “What does that even mean?”
That means I’m not going to ask you to give up or sacrifice anything!
“Wait, you mean you won’t ask me to wake up early, watch less T.V. at night, or sell my soul?”
I’m going to show you how you can find time that you aren’t using. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ll find enough time to write at least a page a day. Keep that up for a year and you could have a complete novel. Wow! Sounds like magic, you say? It’s not, but I’m cool with it if you want to think of me as magical.
If you were looking for an article that will help you make time and get into a writing routine, you have to check out my most popular post: 5 Steps to Create a Writing Routine (And How to Stick with It). You’ll be in a writing routine before you know it, and you’ll be amazed at how much you get written!
Before We Get to the List…
There is one thing you need to do: start carrying a writing tool with you everywhere. And I mean E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. Period. That might mean carrying a mini notebook and pencil, or it might mean packing your tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with you before you head out to greet the day. Whatever tool you are most comfortable using to write, take it with you. Of course, you can’t just carry it with you. You have to actually use it.
Now, on to all the different ways you can find time you didn’t even know you had!
How to Find Extra Time for Writing
Write During Your Commute
Commuting sucks, but don’t let it go to waste! If you ride the bus or subway, what do you usually do during your commute? Daydream or mentally complain about how awful commuting is? This is extra time that you aren’t using, and you could totally use it to get in some writing! Take out your writing tool and get working. Even if you have only a fifteen-minute commute, you could write a paragraph. Every paragraph adds up, and before you know it, you’ll have a book.
Write While Waiting
Don’t you hate waiting? I do! The average person spends a lot of time waiting every day. I think the exact amount of time is something along the lines of for-freaking-ever. We wait outside the boss’s office before a meeting, at our desks while a program takes a ridiculous amount of time to install, in line for food, in our cars as we fill their tanks at the gas station, in line outside of school when picking up our kids, in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil so we can cook our spaghetti (boil, stupid water, boil!), and countless other places. We even wait in waiting rooms that are so honestly named by the cruel doctors and dentists who sadistically laugh at our bored discomfort. All this waiting adds up. This is time you aren’t using that can easily benefit your writing. Whip out your writing tool and get to work! Your word count will add up in no time.
Write While Procrastinating
Come on, we all do it whether we admit it or not. We mindlessly stare at a wall to avoid a stupid assignment given by an even stupider boss. We play a boring game on our phone while putting off vacuuming the house, telling ourselves that we are just taking a break. We shuffle through a host of boring and unfulfilling activities to avoid the things we don’t want to do. If you’re going to procrastinate, you might as well procrastinate by writing and feel like you’re being productive (which you kind of are, so I won’t burst your bubble). Whenever you feel the urge to procrastinate a work obligation or chore, pull out your writing tool and type away. Sure, you might not get done what you were supposed to, but at least your procrastination wasn’t a total waste of time. Just don’t start procrastinating writing!
Write During Wasted Breaks
Do you ever get a break and completely waste it? I’m not talking about a fun luncheon with friends that you enjoy immensely. I’m talking about spending your lunch break eating with a bunch of jack wagons you hate, sticking around to listen to their boorish stories because you don’t have anything better to do. But you do have something better to do: write! If you usually end up spending your breaks doing something you don’t even like, then this is wasted time you could use to grow as a writer. You’re not giving up anything by writing during these times because you weren’t enjoying what you were doing anyways. Plus, writing a novel is a great excuse to escape conversations with annoying co-workers. That’ll teach you, Barbara!6 times in your day you can use to write Click To Tweet
Write During ‘Sprint’ Breaks
There is a little something I call a sprint break, and it’s about to make your day a whole lot better. Do you ever get to a point in your day when you feel like you’re going to burst? The task you are working on is insanely difficult or horribly never ending, and you’re not sure if you can keep up without crying from the stress. This is the perfect time for a sprint break! Getting away from your task for 5-15 minutes can make a world of difference. The thing about this is, you aren’t really losing any time. If you didn’t take the sprint break, you would just end up wasting the time stressing out. After your sprint break, you will feel more focused and positive, thus, you’ll be more productive.
Bonus Tip: Use a word sprint website to vamp up your writing! Word sprints are fast paced writing challenges you can do online. Some websites allow you to race against other writers, some have you race against the clock. They’re a lot of fun, and they’re a motivating way to get in as many words as you can in a short amount of time.
Here are a few word sprint websites:
Write Instead of Doing Unnecessary ‘Obligatory’ Tasks
What is an unnecessary ‘obligatory’ task? Oh, I’m so glad you asked! This is a task that is completely unnecessary but that you feel obligated to perform (but you really aren’t). This includes things like social media, but only the social media platforms you don’t enjoy. For instance, I have Facebook, but I hate Facebook. There is never anything that interests me on Facebook, and I don’t enjoy looking at it. Yet, I often feel obligated to get through my Facebook feed. I don’t know why, but I just do. This is an unnecessary ‘obligatory’ task. Think about things you do that you don’t like doing but feel like you’re supposed to. Stop doing those things. Life is too short to waste on stuff that you don’t enjoy and don’t need to do. Instead, spend this time writing because you actually enjoy writing. This is extra time. You aren’t losing anything, but you’re gaining time to work on becoming the better writer you want to be.
Get writing! If excuses are still holding you back, download my free ‘No Excuses!’ Cheat Sheet. It’s specifically designed to help you deal with the 7 most common excuses writers give for not writing. You’ll be leaving your excuses behind and sailing into a successful future before you know it. Get it for free here!
Now go attack your word count goal like the fearless wordcrafter you are, and don’t stop until you achieve your dreams. I believe in you, and you should believe in you. Leave a comment down below and tell me what kind of ‘extra’ time you’ve found in your day that you will now use to write. Happy writing!
Samantha Proctor, a national award-winning writer, is passionate about helping other aspiring authors. On her blog (you can check it out here!) she shares writing tips, prompts, and resources. For constant encouragement for writers, you can follow this coffee-loving ginger on Pinterest or Instagram.
What are your tips for finding time for writing?
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