5 Things to Do When You Don’t Have Time to Write

Sunday, February 02, 2020
Women who write have it tough. As if that point wasn’t driven home in Sioux’s recent post “He Said, She Said,” I’ve been seeing it this past week in great abundance. One friend is nursing her husband, recently released from the hospital with pneumonia. Another is cleaning out her mother’s house so that it can be sold. 

It can be difficult to feel like a writer when you have to struggle to fit any writing into your day. Fortunately, there are five writerly things you can do when you don’t know if you will have time to write.

Start the Day Writing. One piece of advice I recently saw was to make sure you start the day with your writing. By doing it before you start errands, you squeeze it in and get it done. Task accomplished you can walk tall through your day. This idea presumes that you don’t have a toddler who is an early riser. If that’s your situation. . .

Broaden Your Definition. You may not have time to draft an article, a chapter or even an entire page, so broaden your definition of what constitutes writing. What one writing related task can you fit into your day? Add an agent to your “interested” list. Get out your journal and jot down that idea you have for a new story.

Follow Up on Something. Recently a friend contacted an agent who has had her work for months. Not only had the agent’s response been lost in the electronic atmosphere, it was a request for a full manuscript. Take the time to write a short e-mail to the agent who has been sitting on your work. When we are really busy it is easy to let following up slide.

Reading Is Writing. This one has always driven my husband a little bananas. If you are a writer, reading counts as work! When my son was a preschooler, I might not have found time to write every day, but I could find time to read him a picture book. Reading to my target audience? Instant research and a writing task accomplished. And, the easiest task of all to fit into your busy day?

Live Your Life. Life events may periodically get in the way of your writing but they also fuel your writing. In addition to the events themselves, emotion and sensory experiences can make the way into our work.

So even on those days or in those weeks when life is full? You are working on your writing.

Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 25 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins  March 2nd, 2020. 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--I am going to try and write in the mornings. I used to do that, but I've gotten into a rut, thinking my mornings are too busy. If I got up 30 minutes earlier, I could at least write for 30 minutes, right?

And thanks for shout-out and link, along with the reference. (Maybe you have several writer friends who did it.)

I Am doing the reading right now. I'm lost in a novel that is beyond wonderful. Wow. "The Last Thing You Surrender" by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Karen Woodward said...

Wonderful post, thanks!

When I don't have time for writing (I usually do) I'll sometimes post a tweet that is inspired by a trending hashtag.


Thanks again! :-)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Thanks for this, Sue! :) I don't write every day, and I discovered when I do (like during NaNo) I get burnt out and the writing isn't any good. Everyone is different, but I like to meditate on what I'm going to write for a week or more, read/research the topic--even for my memoir--and then when inspiration strikes, dump about 3k onto the page in one sitting. Hi, my name's Angela, and I'm a binge writer.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

That looks like a really good book. On request now at the library.

That's a good one too. I'll have to add that to my "writerly" list.

I write most days but not on one project. I may put one aside for a week and then add 1500 or 2000 words in a day. I think we each have to find what works for us.


Cathy C. Hall said...

YES! READING IS WRITING. (Just appreciating you validating my belief and reading habit.)

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