One of the most common concerns I hear from new writers is that they don’t have time to write. This feeling doesn’t go away after you get published. Actually, it sometimes gets even worse when you add marketing and promoting a book to the list of things you have to do today.
Wherever you are in your journey as an author, actually writing is a vital part of the adventure. After all, you can’t publish a book you haven’t written yet. So saying you don’t have time to write is the same as saying you can’t be a writer because you have more important things to do. It doesn’t sound great when you rephrase it that way, does it?
If writing really is a top priority for you, then you’ll make time to write. I know, I know…easier said than done. That’s what I’m here for.
When you really don’t have time to write
Conventional wisdom says you should set aside a certain time for writing every day and guard that time with your life. That’s a great productivity hack, and should absolutely be your first-line strategy. Yet, there are seasons when life is crazy and blocking time just doesn’t work. For example: when you’re in the middle of a cross country move, have small children who don’t know the meaning of nap time, or are supporting a sick loved one.
At times like those, sticking to your block schedule becomes even harder and it can be tempting to put writing off to another day. Which is fine, if that’s what you really want to do. There’s no shame in choosing to focus on something other than writing.
However, life circumstances don’t have to prevent you from writing. There is another strategy you can try. I call it Stealing Seconds. It’s super easy, here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Always carry a writing tool
I personally carry my laptop everywhere. My friends and family have started calling it my security laptop. If I’m out somewhere and not carrying it, you can pretty much bet it’s in the car. You know, just in case.
On those occasions when I don’t have the space to whip out a laptop, I have my phone ready to go. I store all of my works in progress on the cloud so I can access them from any device at any time. A notebook and pen works great too if you prefer long hand.
Step 2: Write whenever you have a free moment
Steal every second you can. I mean it. Fifteen minute break at work? Write something. Standing in a long line at the grocery store? Write something. Toddler finally fell asleep? Drink some coffee and write something. The more you do this, the more you’ll become accustomed to dropping into the writer’s mindset at a moment’s notice.
This isn’t a fast strategy. You probably won’t crank out 1000 words while waiting for your professor to show up to class, but every word you write while stealing seconds is a word you might not have written otherwise.
Try Stealing Seconds and let me know how it works for you. Or, if you’d like some one-on-one support, contact me for details about coaching for writers (that’s you).