How to find time to write your next book

If you want to be a published writer, you’ll need to write regularly. After all, you can’t publish a novel, a short story or a how-to book if you haven’t finished it.

That’s easier said than done, of course. Most of us must balance our writing time against career, family, friends, house chores and more.

But hours at the office and the needs of children at home need not prevent us from completing our dream book.

So how do you create that “balance”?

First, you must establish a routine, a time every day when you will write undisturbed, if only for a half-hour. That period should occur at roughly the same time every day. It may mean getting up a half-hour earlier or going to sleep a half-hour later. It may be your half-hour lunch break at work. It may be during the half-hour nap your preschooler takes every afternoon. If your children are older or you’re an empty-nester, require others to build their schedules around you for this time. After several weeks of writing a half-hour every day, you’ll soon amass quite a number of written pages.

Some authors have told me that if they write for a specified time period, they spend most of their time thinking about what to write rather than actually getting words on a page. If you face the same obstacle and have a little more leeway with your time, instead write to a specific word count or page count.

At the risk of sounding contradictory, some authors say if they write to a specific word or page count, they write a lot of junk that later has to be trashed, and so it seems like a waste of time and effort. Don’t worry about “wasted” writing, though. Consider that football players don’t complain about tackle drills and running plays in practice as “wasted” time since they’re not playing a real game – they’re simply developing their skills.

Regardless of which approach you choose, don’t stop “writing” when your time period is over or once you’ve reached your word count goal. Keep thinking about your story when jogging, vacuuming, folding laundry, commuting, changing a diaper, waiting for the next meeting to begin, sitting at the doctor’s office and so on. Ask yourself what will happen next in the story, imagine a scene, build a character’s background. Carry a notepad with you to jot notes or to make outlines.

Once you sit did again to write again, you’ll then have something to work with so you can make your limited time even more productive!