10 Methods to Find More Time to Write

10 Methods to Find More Time to Write

Time is a precious commodity in the life of a writer. Demands on our time come at us from every direction these days. We’re expected to market our work, hobnob on the Internet, maintain an active web presence, research, edit, clean the house, make meals, keep up with family and friends, buy groceries… and, oh, yes, write. How can we possibly find time to write amid all this other stuff that needs doing?

In lieu of a magic machine that generates an extra hour in every day, following are ten tips for making sure your writing doesn’t get pushed to the back burner of your busy life.

1. Prioritize Your Writing Time

If writing habitually ends up at the bottom of your priorities list, you can hardly expect to accomplish much. In the December 2009 issue of The Writer, Karen M. Rider wrote,

Unless it’s life or death, remember that chores can wait or be delegated but ideas are fleeting—so writing can’t wait.

2. Create Daily Schedules

Once you’ve figured out your priorities, lock them into a schedule. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish in your day and put a time to it. Writing out a to-do list can help you use your time to its full extent.

3. Cull the Unnecessaries From Your Life

It’s easy to waste all kinds of time on unnecessaries: email, Internet games, TV, phone calls, etc. As fun as these things may be, discipline yourself to recognize what’s unnecessary—and cut it ruthlessly.

4. Get Organized

Organization takes a little extra effort, but once you have a system in place, it saves untold minutes you might otherwise spend hunting down research notes, sorting through scribbled notes, or running searches through your computer’s hard drive in pursuit of that outline your wrote last fall.

5. Plan Beyond Today

Writing time is too precious to waste on anything but writing. When you sit down each day at your scheduled writing time, make sure you’re ready to go. Have your scene outline, character sketches, and research notes ready to grab at a moment’s notice.

6. Use Your Non-Writing Time Creatively

Instead of pondering plot holes during your writing time, use the time during “brainless” activities (such as folding clothes, washing dishes, or mowing the lawn) to multi-task. Plan your next scene in your head before you ever sit down to write it.

7. Get/Stay up an Hour Earlier/Later

Borrowing an hour of sleep is an easy way to add an extra hour to the day. Plus, by writing when the rest of your household is in still in bed, you gain the added benefit of peace and quiet.

8. Write in Multiple Small Chunks of Time

If carving a solid hour or two from your schedule is too daunting, try grabbing fifteen minutes four times a day. Squeeze a little writing time in during your lunch hour or while in you’re waiting in the car at your child’s piano lesson—or even dictate into a tape recorder while driving to work.

9. Delegate Non-Essential Tasks

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate tasks. Hire a secretary, a babysitter, a maid, or a publicist. Your time is more valuable than the money necessary to hire help.

10. Encourage Others to Respect Your Writing Time

This starts with you respecting your writing time. If your writing doesn’t matter enough for you to make time for it, why should others respect it? Make it clear to family and friends that you can’t talk to them during writing time. They may need to be told firmly several times before understanding, so stick to your guns. If all else fails, you can always do what I do and keep a machete and a flame thrower in your desk!

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What do you to do find more time to write? Tell me in the comments!

10 Methods to Find More Time to Write


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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Even though I love my Netflix shows, I’ve been turning them off more and more, or not even turning them on to begin with. I’ll watch the news, or maybe a little bit with my husband when he’s home or on the weekends, but if he’s not home because of work or church obligations, I’m more apt to use that time for writing-related pursuits (not ALWAYS writing, but usually something in the realm of my writing world.) I’m trying to get my oldest to start helping out with chores (like her own laundry) which takes at least a little bit off my plate, and I’m trying to make sure I snag some time on most days to do *something* writing-related (especially since right now, I’m in edit and outline-modes, not active writing.) When I start writing my next book, I’ll try to integrate getting up an hour earlier to write, but editing requires too much light and it wakes up my son, which means it’s pointless to edit in the wee-hours of the morning. :p Looking forward to eventually moving and hopefully having my own space where I can block everyone else out!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Smart. TV is such an incredible time suck–even if we need a little of it for story research. 😉 I’m strict about my TV intake, but it can still end up being several hours a day.

  2. Hey there!

    Totally feeling like a kid again at the playground. Playing at the monkey bars, the swings, dominating at tetherball etc. Well sort of dominating, there was this one girl who gave a run for the money. She was good, really good. Now I’m going post to post here on the site having fun. 🙂

    1. Prioritize writing time- YES. I love it. My family realizes that I’m taking this “writing thing” seriously. That’s how the wife phrased it. A writing thing.

    2. Creating schedules- Haven’t quite make a schedule yet, which is partly why I request info on the subject. I know that you’re a scheduled and very productive person, so hopefully that’ll rub off on me.

    3. Cull unnecessaries from your life- YES. This is a big plus. But reading has surprisingly helped me quell the urge to watch TV, and not writing.

    4. Get Organized- Totally flunked in this area. Bad habits. Working on it though.

    5. Plan beyond today- This is a tough one for me. Since I’m somewhat hardwired for one day at a time. Too spontaneous and only see one day at a time. Totally not a planner. Which is another reason I requested help. My dad even told me this years ago. That I don’t have long range vision. That I don’t plan. He died exactly 4 years ago today from cancer.

    6. Use non-writing time creatively- Yes, I love pondering, musing, about many things. Driving is one of the best, followed by sitting in the car; windows down, absorbing the environment.

    7. Get/Stay up an hour earlier/later- Borrowing an hour of sleep is a must in my household. Getting up an hour early is more challenging, so I opted to do it at night. Currently trying to balance between reading and writing. A lot reading is taking up a good amount of time which I find very necessary.

    8. Write in multiple small chunks of time- When I realized that I could write in smaller chunks of time I found it so liberating. AND ITS SO FUUNNNN. I wish I had started writing a lot earlier. 🙁

    9. Delegate Non-essential tasks- I have to work on this one.

    10. Encourage other to respect writing time- Yep. A machete and flamethrower sound great. I kind of have a time in the evening that I use to write. And if I’m interrupted I get grumpy and my blood boils. 🙂



  1. […] Source: 10 Methods to Find More Time to Write – Helping Writers Become Authors […]

  2. […] So you want to write a book? Athena Marie has 25 things to keep in mind if you want to write a book. Jami Gold tackles two related topics this week: the steep learning curve of writing and why there is no one right way to write. Writing time is always at a premium, so K.M. Weiland shares 10 methods to find more writing time. […]

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