Ways to Add Creative Writing to Your Day (Even If You're Really Busy)

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

What's your excuse reason to not write? We've all got them. And sometimes they are legit, I-don't-blame-you, fully embrace the "not-writing-ness" of your life type of reasons. And I mean that.

Other times they are what they are: excuses.

For me, it's busyness. And sometimes, I legitimately have a lot going on and have to put creative writing low on the priority list. Other times....eh......I use that as my reason when it's truly just an excuse. 

So for those out there having a hard time writing time because of busyness, I'm here to help. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Make it a "first thing." 
Notice I didn't say to make it THE first thing you do. But a first thing. Make writing your "first thing" after your work day ends. Or make it your first thing after you put the laundry in. Or your first thing after a workout session. 

For example, this past Saturday, I had a lot of other important firsts. I had coffee, spent time with family, and read scripture. Afterward, I brought up my laptop, skimmed my email, and I was tempted to bring up my first "laptop" thing to do.

Then, I stopped.

Instead of doing my first laptop task, which likely included some kind of promotional thing for someone, I brought up my current short story. I spent about ten minutes or so revising it. 

There, I worked on my story. Not long, of course. (The whole busyness thing is kind of real). But I made it my first thing before working on my laptop.
  • Make it easy.
I'm kind of the type that has a lot of things going on, stories included. So, it's easy for me to get so bogged down with wondering what story to work on next, that I get too overwhelmed to work on anything at all.

My goal lately has been to prioritize the revision process. So, that has taken drafting new stories off the menu of options for a while. Now, I do have other stories in the percolator but only one I have next on my list. That's the one that's been my goal to revise lately. This morning, I knew right away that I would work on it next. Doing so, made writing really easy.

So, for you, it may be something different. Maybe your important thing this year is to pitch editors. Or to outline your next novel. Or to start a new short story. Or to practice writing prompts. Make it easy to write by knowing exactly what you need to work on next.

  • Make it convenient.
Consider where you are at during your day. And I don't mean emotionally, although that could play a part. But I mean, physically. Where is your body located at different points of the day?

Wherever you are, make it easy to stop and take a writing break. Add notebooks to spaces where you do errands or put them in your car or handbag. Add an app to your phone that lets you work on your latest story or novel or poem. Or bring your laptop with you places if it's convenient enough to take. 

Overall, don't let "I don't have my laptop/notebook/writing materials with me" be an excuse.

Those are my tips! Obviously, this is still something I'm having a hard time doing, but I'm working on improving my creative habits daily.

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. When she's not hunting down the right word, she's talking to God, reviewing books on her writing blog, watching movies, hanging out with family, and daydreaming. Her work has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not, WOW! Women on Writing, The Voices Project, Sky Island Journal, and Arlington Literary Journal. Her poetry was also featured in the anthology, Dear Leader Tales. Read her musings at WorldofMyImagination.com.


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Yes! This is how I fit in my own projects in addition to work-for-hire. Now sometimes I just have to give the work-for-hire my full attention but, when I'm going to work in the "fun stuff," I do that first.

Angela Mackintosh said...

These are great tips, Nicole! I use the "first thing" tip, too. Usually, I do write first thing in the morning, but sometimes it's the first thing after I complete a task like editing an article or after a good workout. I write on my phone, too. Since I started writing fiction a month ago, it's all I can think about, the story world, the story logic. It keeps my mind so busy that nothing else really bothers me. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sue: That's awesome! Working in fun stuff first is so important :)

@Angela: I love that fiction is occupying your mind like that! I think that's an awesome benefit of stepping outside your writing comfort zone!

Renee Roberson said...

This is an important message, Nicole! I know for a lot of us, when writing is part of our "day" job, it can be easy to put off our own projects. I'm guilty of it myself. Now that my schedule is a bit more flexible, I am trying to prioritize physical exercise first, then my own writing, whether it's novel revisions or podcast work. I find that if I wait too late in the day to do any of this, I throw in the towel!

Nicole Pyles said...

@Renee: Absolutely! Early is always better. Otherwise if I wait too late, it's too easy for me to talk myself out of it.

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