Finding Time to Write

Thursday, April 10, 2008
A number one complaint I hear from my writing friends is, "I don't have enough time to write." I wrote an earlier post about the ABC's of writing--Apply Butt to Chair. This time, I have a couple suggestions on finding time to write, and these may seem strange at first. But please, read on, and maybe even try one.

Are you a morning glory or night owl? Do your creative juices flow with the rays of the sun or the glow of the stars? If you can figure this out, you could produce more quality work and probably more words per minute. The Internet is full of quizzes on finding your right time of day as well as articles with research on honoring your internal clock. Just go to any search engine, type in “morning person,” and check out a few of the sites.

Writer Lou Turner prefers to write at night because it’s quiet. “I live in a house with two sons, one husband, one grandson during the week, two male dogs, and one male cat. And none of them can find the kitchen or laundry rooms by themselves. When they go to bed, I turn off MTV, the golf channel and rock station, put my ceiling fan on low, open the window a crack so I can hear the fountain outside, and I write.”

Night writing doesn’t work for everyone. Writer Amy Harke-Moore says, “At night, a brain fog sets in.” When working on a deadline, she has written at all times of the day and found the morning to be her favorite.

Everyone is different. Taking the time to figure out when you are the freshest and when your creative juices are flowing can produce more quantity and quality in your writing.

What does the E-word have to do with writing? Believe me, sometimes I wonder the same thing.
In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wellness, authors Patricia Smith and Muriel MacFarlane tell us, “Working out can improve mental vigor, reaction time, acuity, math skills, creativity, and imagination.” Scientists have conducted studies on the connection between individuals who exercise and their response time to mental challenges or their improved scores on intellectual tests. With a healthy flow of blood and oxygen, the brain is protected and works better.

I have to admit when I exercise, I have more energy in all aspects of my life. If I have more energy for everything, that means I have more for my family and friends and job, but most importantly—my writing.

Exercise has a fringe benefit, too. It gives you time to think about those parts of your story, article, or poem that are driving you crazy. During a set of jumping jacks, you can rescue your hero from the villain. While racing around the track, you may create the perfect title for the love poem you polished off the night before. Cycling down a forest trail allows time to discover another spin on a nonfiction article about spider webs. Besides more energy and time to work out plot points, the fat will fall off, muscles will tighten, and you can eat more chocolate whenever you get writer’s block.

**A portion of this post originally appeared in Beginnings Magazine, Summer/Fall 2004

by Margo Dill


Anonymous said...

Great post, Margo. I definitely write better in the morning, but with a houseful of kids, pets & a husband, sometimes I have no choice but to wait until night.

And I agree with the exercise point, too. I use my walking time to think.

Annette said...


Loved your post! I still haven't figured out when is my best writing time. I'm so deadline driven that nothing seems to make it onto the page until it absolutely must. And when that happens, it usually spans both morning and night--and the next morning and night with 30 minute power naps thrown in to make it through. A byproduct of my college days I think. It's a bad habit.

Great reminder about exercise! You are exactly right, I do feel so much better--sharper and energized after I work out. The hard part is pushing away from the computer long enough to go do it! But the kickboxing and cardio step with weights classes I attend (when I go) don't really lend themselves to thinking about anything else--unless I want to get kicked in the head or trip over the step and drop a dumbbell on my toes! LOL

I've found that a nice walk with my dogs, a long drive on the freeway (or sitting stuck in traffic), even a hot shower or tub bath are also great places to write in my head.

I'm just waiting for a device to be created that will telepathically upload my thoughts to the computer so they don't disappear before I get a chance to type 'em down!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top