Apr 3, 2014

Writing Time

One of the things I'm often asked is how I find the time, with my busy schedule, to write. It makes me realise that there's still this myth that you need tons of free time to be a writer.

It's even present in movies and tv. Look at any time a character decides to follow their artistic dreams. They often pack in their day-job and set out on the journey of finding their passion, making it happen (Fame! I'm gonna live forever. Ahem...). Going as far back as You've Got Mail, where Meg Ryan's character comments on only being able to write a book because she has so much free time, or Mike & Molly, where Molly, a teacher, climbs out of her classroom window and abandons her students, to live her dream of being a writer. This is a terrible idea for most of us, who have bills to pay.

If you've got a busy schedule, I can relate. But you can make time to follow your passion, whatever that may be.

Break it down easily. Let's take writing, since that's the one I know about. Writing 1,000 words in an hour is an achievable pace. If you can write for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, you can have an 80,000 word novel drafted in 16 weeks. Add another 4 for editing, and you've got a book ready to query or get ready for self-publishing in less than 5 months. Keep that pace up, and you write two books a year, which is better than a lot of big-name authors, and in today's market, releasing more books is one of the best ways to stay competitive.

So don't worry if life feels hectic. You can absolutely find the time you need, without sacrificing the security of a day-job, or time with your friends and family.


  1. 100% agree with you! I however have put writing on the long finger for a few years since I have carved out time in my day for too many other projects and something had to give! But it's all about priorities, I have prioritised learning to paint and draw and working on my fashion design course for now, in a year or two I'll get back to writing.

  2. I find it hard to write on weekdays because I have a long commute, so I'm shattered when I get home and not in a good creative place mentally. I can edit very well midweek, though, probably because I'm crotchety and critical :p To make time to write, I either write on my lunch break at work, or get up early on the weekends.

    I LOVE getting up early to write on the weekends. No one disturbs you, no one bothers you, there's nothing new on the internet that wasn't there yesterday (news sites are one of my procrastination hotspots) and it's so peaceful. I wish there were two weekends every week!

  3. Here in "I have no life" land, things are easier. I can afford to devote 8 hours a day to writing if I feel like it, even with a day job. Generally I don't, aside from at weekends, not these days anyway; it's a good way to end up burned out.

    Like SJ says, it's a matter of priorities. I know what the enemies of my productive writing are: video games! (TV and movies to some extent, but there's little enough of that I want to watch that those represent a bump on the road.) Getting into a game is deadly. "I'll just have half an hour on this..." and then it's midnight. Not good.

    Really, the way to write a book is to make a little time to write it. As you say, an hour a day of actually writing. No prevarication, writing. Worry about not liking that section in editing. Just write, don't start up Batman: Arkham City again...

    Sorry, what time is it?