Life is busy for everyone. It’s as simple as that. And with a hectic schedule, the most difficult challenge each day can be making time to write.
As a college student, you have classes, homework, social life, and extracurriculars all pulling for your time. It’s hard to fit time on the side to write.
As a parent, your baby is waking up and giving you little to no breaks for writing from that moment until bedtime.
And when you’re writing with a day job, you can feel so exhausted after work that the only thing you feel like doing is to lay on the couch and watch Netflix.
The major problem with not getting enough time to write is it pushes all your goals back.
For example, if you’re trying to write a book and self publish it, each day you procrastinate is another day you have to wait to become an author. And each day your book isn’t on the market is another day you could have made money from book royalties.
Taking it even farther, every day you procrastinate is another day you have to wait to publish book number 2, 3, 4, etc.
When you think of it in these lenses, it’s easy to see how important it is to write each day so you get closer to your goals and the attached rewards.
That’s why I laid out the tips below to increase your writing output and meet—or shorten—your book release date. By making a concentrated effort to find time to write, you’re taking control of your destiny and not letting life throw you around.
Whatever your current life situation is, I’m confident that you can produce more words per day, finish your book sooner, and reach your goals faster utilizing the strategies below.
1. Write in small windows
Too many writers, maybe yourself, get in the bad habit of thinking that if they don’t have at least an hour to write, it’s not worth it. So they waste plenty of 10 to 30 minute writing windows throughout their day.
Successful writers are different. They take advantage of every opportunity they get to write. If they have 15 minutes at work in between meetings, they write. If they’re commuting on the train to work, they write. And if their kids are showering, they write.
Add up these small 10-minute windows of writing and you’ll reach a higher word count each day than you can imagine.
2. Give yourself permission to write crappy
The biggest reason you don’t sprint out of the gates writing is because of your fear of failure and desire for perfect writing. All authors struggle with this at some point.
But it’s a crazy thought because there’s no such thing as perfect writing. The goal in the drafting stage is to get all your content out there. So write whatever comes to mind, knowing you can always edit it before anyone ever sees it.
Often writers don’t need more time, they just need to write more given the time they have.
(And if you’re trying to write a book in 30 days, you definitely can’t self-edit during writing.)
3. Start the day writing
Before you check social media, email, or your normal routine, start the day writing. It’s a wise move to write in the morning because your willpower and energy are at their highest. Take advantage of this!
If you have something going on early at 7am, wake up even earlier than that to write and make up for it by going to bed earlier. By rearranging your sleep schedule, you can ensure you always have time to write.
Plus, would you rather feel a little tired but inspired thanks to your writing progress, or well rested but upset because you can’t follow through to write? The answer is obvious to me.
4. Go on a weekend writing trip
Now things are getting weird? Maybe. But maybe a weekend writing trip is what you need to supercharge your writing and build downhill momentum to finish your book.
The way you do it is you leave Friday and stay at a hotel—preferably one with a view in a cool destination. (It’s key you stay in a hotel so you don’t have to worry about cleaning or preparing food.) Your only responsibilities that weekend are to write, eat, and sleep. It’s possible to crank out 20,000 words or more in a weekend like this. And then you come back home Sunday night proud of your progress and ready to build on the momentum next week.
Looking at it from this perspective, a weekend writing trip is more logical than strange.
5. Dictate in the car
All the time you spend in the car driving and sitting in traffic during the week can become valuable “writing” time if you get a dictation and transcription app.
Use speech-to-text technology to get the main ideas out of your head for first drafts of blog posts or your book. Then, when you sit down to edit and expand, you’ll have a solid foundation to work from.
6. Avoid disruptions
With so little time in the day to work, when you finally get an opportunity to write you can’t waste a single second checking Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Make it easy on yourself to avoid interruptions by finding a quiet place, turning your phone off or at least on silent mode, and blocking your favorite sites.
There’s a difference between not having time during the day to write and wasting time on social media or television. Prioritize writing by avoiding distractions altogether. You’ll write more and feel better about your day.
7. Say no more often
Until your writing is completed that day, say no to all extra activities that present themselves during the day. If your coworker wants to get drinks after work, your friend wants to talk on the phone for an hour, or your spouse wants to watch a movie, the answer needs to be no.
This is going to be painful for all the people-pleasers out there, but to make time to write you need to be selfish about it. Doing this will also motivate you to get your writing done earlier in the day so you can afford to be spontaneous without any negative consequences.
Say only one of these tips works for you but you gain an extra 60 minutes of writing time each day. That means you gain 7 hours a week, 28 hours a month, and over 300 more hours of writing a year.
And assuming you write 1,000 words per hour at that same rate, that’s 365,000 more words of writing in one year. Imagine that!
There’s nothing left for you to do at the end of this post but to get started writing today.
What makes it hard for you to find time writing during the day? Do you notice how much harder it is to write after you’ve missed a few days? Feel free to comment and I’ll respond.