16 August, 2012

5 Surefire Ways to Add Writing To Any Schedule

"I'm too busy to write." 

"My kids take up all my writing time."

"I just don't feel the inspiration."

"Work is keeping me from doing what I want."

I don't know about you but I'm sick of hearing excuses like this. The problem is, most of these are from my own mouth. And I'm done. Maybe you are, too. Excuses don't make a writer. Writing does.

But how do you make enough time to actually sit down to the task? Simple: you just do it. Throw expectations, worries, stress, and everything else out the window. Even if it's only for a few minutes, we all can find the time to write every single day if we really want to.

As promised, there are five surefire ways (and probably more!) to instantly add writing to your schedule:

1. Five minutes 

Whenever an extra five minutes lands in your lap, grab your notebook. Boot up the computer. Open your iPad. Write. And, whatever you do, don't listen to that nagging little voice that says, "You need at least [insert time frame here] to do this properly." You don't. You just need to write, period.

2. Wake up

I love sleep. My teenage self would have been horrified to know how much I would one day adore curling up in a soft, cozy pile of blankets. But to get anywhere in the writing world, we sometimes have to give up a little sleep. Not too much, mind you, or we'll all become zombies. But sacrificing twenty minutes or an hour here and there might just mean the difference between "finished manuscript" and "no manuscript."

3. Plan for alone moments

Even on weekends. Set your alarm clock early, drive to an isolated area, lock the door to the bathroom...whatever it takes, set up a time you can be completely alone and stick to it. Even if it's only for five minutes.

4. Talk to yourself

Buy a voice recorder or call your own voicemail. Talk out your ideas, character conversations, or titles. Do this to and from work, on the way to school, or as you run errands. Then use your five minutes later to transcribe your daily recordings.

5. Turn off the electronics

How many hours a day do you spend texting, emailing, checking out Facebook statuses, or laughing at funny cat pictures? Today's world is very interconnected in this way. But think of all time spent on the internet being applied to your work-in-progress. Do you have enough time now to write? I know I would.  Sometimes, it's good to unplug from everything (and I mean everything - no cheating with a phone or iPad).


Get away from all the above distractions. Write for five minutes, whatever comes to mind, even if you think it's nonsense. 

Once you're done, look at your handywork. Be happy with it, even if it's imperfect. Don't tear yourself down. You accomplished something you didn't think you had time for - enjoy it!

Post your practice session in the comments. Let us know what you liked best. Then do it again and again and again until five minutes a day (or your own ideal time frame) is a habit. Ultimately, have fun! 

Anything you would add to the list? Sound off in the comments!


  1. Excellent tips! I'm learning to grab a couple minutes here and a couple there.

    1. It's hard, isn't it? Hope you can find more time to do the things you want.

  2. Ahh! I need this post! It's so tough...and those excuses are all my own. Plus add, "I'm too tired to write," to the list. Thanks for the tips!

    1. So glad it helped/will help! I've found that I work best with tough love and thought it might be good for others, as well. :)

  3. my biggest one is being too tired. i just KNOW that anything i write when im like that wiill be crap. but recently i've made myself sit down and write anyway- and it actuallynturned out good! maybe being tired lets me stop overanalyzing and just write?

    great post :)

    1. Over-analyzing my current physical state gets me into trouble, too! Don't you wish we could just turn that part of our brains off?

  4. Awesome tips, Jessica! And all are very true. I say, if you have time to come up with elaborate excuses, you have the imagination to make time to write as well. ;)

    The secret of making time to write in my case is multitasking. I write at work (between tasks), I make notes on my plot during boring meetings, write at home during boring shows or regurgitated news, figure out conflicts when I do the dishes or do my nails... and so on. I guess being more or less constantly preoccupied with the story keeps the engine running. :)

    1. Thanks, Veronica! I love that blog post. Too, too true.

      I think keeping the story running through your head constantly is a big one for me, too. I only get into trouble when I stop. ;)

  5. Thanks for the pep talk and tips. I certainly needed it. My problem is procrastination. I've been away so long because of packing, moving, and unpacking that getting back into the sequel I'm writing is difficult. It's like my characters took a siesta, and I need to wake them up inside my mind again. I'm ready, I'm willing, and now I'm headed back to my manuscript to start ASAP. Thanks, Jessica. Good timing.

    1. I've had all my characters nap, as well. So glad I could help, Kathy! Keep my updated on how it goes.

  6. Great advice! I'll definitely remember to do these things!


  7. I love this advice! Definitely what I needed to motivate me right now. Five minutes... I can do five minutes. Great post, Jessica! :)


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