Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

I Don’t Have Time to Write, but Somehow I Manage to Do It Anyway

Five tips to help writers prioritize their time to write.

Jennifer Osborne
Feb 3 · 6 min read

For most of us, the dream is to comfortably create from the comfort of our own homes— whiling away the day, writing masterpiece after masterpiece while imbibing on copious amounts of tea.

For many of us, this is a pipe dream. Freelance writers are working all hours of the day on various platforms to build an audience, provide value to the reader, and stay on top of the latest trends in their niche. Usually, this is in addition to a full-time paying job.

There is little time for daydreaming and long walks on the beach.

Since writing is still a part-time pursuit, I have to squeeze writing in between working, parenting, running, reading, and spending time with my husband. I don’t have time to write, but somehow I manage to anyway.

There is time to write. We just have to make it.

Schedule Your Writing Time

Admittedly, I am a “schedule” person. I love my calendar and meticulously plot out each part of my day, week, and month. I need to know exactly what the next day will look like before drifting off to sleep.

“We make time in our lives for what’s important to us. You get what you focus on. So what are you focusing on?” — Joanna Penn, Writer

Until recently, I have not scheduled my writing. I have carved out time late at night when the kids are asleep or during the day when on breaks from my regular part-time job.

Writing has not been a priority for me in the past. To make it a priority, I had to schedule it.

Each day, I have a dedicated two-hour writing block. This is the time for me to sit down and write. I gather the notes I have made on my phone app, and I type away until I manage to stitch together some semblance of an article.

Then I walk away until the next writing block when I come back to edit and publish.

Scheduling my writing has made it a priority instead of an afterthought. It is providing more focus to my craft and giving me the space to grow.

Photo by Chris Spiegl on Unsplash

Find Your Space

I need complete quiet when I write. Some writers listen to music or have the TV blaring in the background. I need solitude and silence.

During my scheduled writing time, I find the space where I can think and be without distractions. When I try to write with my kids in the house, I lose all patience, and my parenting and writing both suffer the consequences.

“The writer’s workspace is a sacred environment where you should be alone with your wild and inexhaustible imagination. Every element of your workspace should be slave to your creativity. This is your profession — you shouldn’t be forced to work or live with inferior tools.” — NY Book Editors

Find a space that is yours and works best for your creativity. That might mean a coffee shop where you can focus away from the distractions of home. It might mean a local library where the books seep into your subconscious prompting the next bestseller.

Writing is an individual endeavor. Find the place that works for you.

Jot Down Ideas Throughout the Day

We write about our life. I can be cleaning the house or chasing after my kids, and I suddenly have a thought worth exploring.

Ideas flow in the car, in the shower, or on a run, which means I am scampering to my phone to jot them down before they disappear into the abyss.

I keep my phone notes app handy and input story ideas throughout the day. If I don’t do this immediately, I lose them.

Whether you use a writer’s notebook, a notes app, or a voice-to-text tool, it is vital to remember those fleeting ideas.

“I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.”— Stephen King

You never know where those ideas might lead. Write them down and follow your instincts as you craft your next story.

Take Advantage of Snippets of Time

Outside of my scheduled writing block, I find random times during the day to do a quick edit or flush out an idea. If my kids are busy playing in another room, then I have at least half an hour to engage in my passion.

I also write when my kids are in their gymnastics class or when my husband takes them off to the playground to burn energy.

“How much am I willing to give up this other thing that I love? Am I willing to give up TV time? Cooking? Sleep? Running? Travel?” — Jane Friedman, Writer

There is time to write, but often I have to make a choice. I can lose myself in a Twitter or Facebook binge, or I can write. I often choose the latter, especially when I have those ideas so handily accessible.

Take note of how you spend your downtime. I have made a goal to read at least two hours a day, which means I forgo TV and dive into a book.

The same goes for writing. If I am excited about a story, I am “flowing” into the late hours of the evening.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Read for Motivation

Most of my ideas come from my lived experiences or from the words I read. I read voraciously from a variety of genres — articles, novels, nonfiction, blog posts, etc.

Reading keeps us involved in the written word. It keeps us connected to other writers.

“Reading like a writer can help strengthen your skills in communication and storytelling. More importantly, it can help you to become a more persuasive person, which is an essential skill to have if you’re trying to convince someone you’re right, pitch an idea or sell yourself for a job you really want.”— Todd Brison, Make It

When we read, we learn. When we learn, we have the opportunity to write to share our ideas with others.

To find the time to write, there has to be some motivation involved. Motivation becomes habit, eventually.

I am not going to pretend that finding the time to write is an easy task. We all have varying amounts of responsibility and obligations to fulfill on a daily basis.

Perhaps the most important takeaway is to remember why you write. Why are you reading this article? What do you hope to accomplish? Write down your goals and sketch out a plan, with specific details, on how writing will become part of your day.

Most of us don’t have the time, but somehow we all manage to do it anyway.

Happy writing, friends.

About the Author:

Jennifer Osborne is an experienced educator, curious writer, avid runner, and voracious learner. She holds graduate degrees in both Educational Leadership and Guidance and Counseling, and she has taught high school English in five different countries, including the U.S.

She writes to share her experiences about education, writing, running, and parenting.

Follow Jennifer on Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn.

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Jennifer Osborne

Written by

Educator, M.S./M.Ed.⎪Expat ⎪Runner⎪Editor of Educate.⎪

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Blank Page is home to stories that help creatives get smarter at writing.

Jennifer Osborne

Written by

Educator, M.S./M.Ed.⎪Expat ⎪Runner⎪Editor of Educate.⎪

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Blank Page is home to stories that help creatives get smarter at writing.

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