How do you find time to write?

When do you write?

Questions I get asked a lot.

People who ask these questions are really asking, ‘how do I find time to write, when should I write?’

Finding time to write is a unique challenge to each of us. Whether we can find any time to write depends on our situation. But the clue is in the phrase ‘find time’, implying there’s time somewhere just lying about and all we have to do is find it…

If we are looking for the right moment to write, if we are hoping to find it by looking at our daily-schedule, by scrutinising what we do with our time to see if there is anywhere we can fit writing in, then we are already looking in the wrong place.

We can’t ‘find’ extra time. All we can do is make time.

A lot also depends on what circumstance you need to write, what surroundings, conditions you feel you need to be just right, before you can start writing.

Do you have to have some time before you write to ‘get your head straight’? To remind yourself of where you are in the writing? Do you need to reread what you’ve written before you can get started? Do you need a quiet space? Do you need copious amounts of tea or coffee?

At what time of the day, where in your manic schedule, can you find that time, with those circumstances?

Those with partners, kids, jobs or no real ‘space’ of their own where they live, how on earth do they find time, to do anything, never mind write!?

First, you need to identify what you really need to write, in terms of circumstance. Look at that. Is it reasonable, is it even vaguely doable? How long are you looking to write each day, half an hour, an hour, more? Is that doable?

You will probably need to change something in your daily routine to allow you the time and space you need to write. Make sure the time and space are what you really need, be sure that when you are making changes, you are working towards an achievable goal.

When I go through schedules with people and try to identify what they need, environment, time, it mostly comes down to writing at either end of the day. Either getting up earlier and getting an hour in, or staying up later and getting an hour in.

That’s a start.

Then there are looking for opportunities, when people go out, when you know you’re going to have a space to yourself, either at home, work or if you go out to a coffee shop.

You have to train yourself. You have to be ready to write with less perceived prep., to write under less than ideal circumstance.

Be realistic in what you aim for in time to write. Utilise that time. Writing is hard, so go easy on yourself when it doesn’t all come together as you’d hope, but keep trying, be persistent, allocate the time and do it.

To do all of this you have to really want to write.

Really want it.

Because if you don’t, then it’ll be easy to see the obstacles as stoppers rather than to look for a way round them.