You Can Finish Your First Draft! 4 Ways to Find Time to Write When it Seems There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day

Finding time to write can be challenging. If writing isn’t your full-time gig, then you probably find yourself struggling to get words on the paper some days. I know I do! In fact, when I enter my busy season, my fiction writing is the first thing to take a back seat.

Here’s the thing, though, if writing a book or short stories, or anything for that matter, is something you’re passionate about, then there’s always a way to find time to make it happen, to find the time and energy to get the words on the page. Trust me!

If you are driven to write, have an idea burning in your imagination, characters fighting to get onto the page but you’re limited on time, then these 4 strategies are just the thing to get you back on track!

  1. Write for 5 minutes a day. We can all find a few extra minutes a day, whether that means getting up 5 minutes earlier, staying up 5 minutes later, or even skipping a social media session. By committing to 5 minutes a day, you’ll begin to develop a writing habit. As you see the words accumulate, momentum will build, and before you know it you’ll have made visible progress on your writing project. This will in turn ignite your motivation to get even more words on the page, and you’ll eventually find ways to increase those 5 minutes to 10 or even more.

  2. Write at the edges of time. There are hidden moments throughout the day that are perfect to get a few extra words down. For example, I’ve found time to write while standing in the line at the grocery store, while sitting in the car waiting for school to let out, on a Scout camping trip, a hike in the woods, and even while waiting for a meeting to begin… The possibilities are endless. Even if it’s only a few minutes, pull out your phone and jot some words down in a Notes app or an email draft, or consider dictating using the voice memo app on your phone. You can always transcribe the words later.

  3. Limit distraction. Distraction is a big obstacle for me. An email notification comes in, a text, a phone call, a squirrel…and I tend to get lost down a rabbit hole. To combat this, I took note of the things that were most distracting and eliminated them. For example, I now only check my email at designated times throughout the day and have shut off notifications and alerts.

  4. Break larger projects into small, achievable goals. Larger projects (like a full-length book) tend to be overwhelming and intimidating when looked at as a whole. Consider breaking your project down to the chapter level. Maybe your ideal mini-goal would be to write a chapter a day or three chapters a week. You can also break it down by word count. For example, if you plan to write a 50,000-word novel, you would have to write 4,166 words per week to complete your first draft within 3 months. That’s 833 words per day (if you plan on writing 5 days a week). It’s much less intimidating and overwhelming when you break it down into smaller goals, isn’t it?

If writing is something you’re passionate about, then find ways to make it happen. Remember, it takes about two weeks to build momentum, and approximately 30 days to create a habit. Stick with it, and before you know it, you’ll have a published book you can be proud of!

Now go write!