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Time won’t give me time

Ever feel like you don’t have enough time to write? I felt like that, until I took a moment to track what I did during the course of my day. What I found was that, while I didn’t have many large blocks of time to write, I had enough smaller chunks that I could make considerable progress on whatever project on which I was working at the time.

I drive my two older daughters to their bus stop before getting to work. I have an hour to myself before the day starts. Multiply that five and there’s five quality hours that I can use for blogging (what I’m doing now) to research.

I have an hour lunch. Normally I use the time to catch up on the goings on in my coworkers’ lives. I think I can shave off 30 minutes without seeming like I’m being antisocial. That frees up another two hours. That’s over seven hours available for writing during my normal work day. I didn’t even count the two hours I have at the end of my day. That pushes the total number of hours available for writing to a whopping 15!

I don’t write on Fridays and Saturdays. I have exist in the real world sometimes. Sundays will net me another four or so hours to write. If I were more diligent in my efforts, I would have almost 20 hours of writing time at my disposal. I guess I can’t use the lack of time as an excuse for not getting some projects completed.

Try it yourself. Jot down what you do from the moment you get up until the moment you go to bed. Ride public transit to work? Perfect time to read over pages, take notes or tighten up that outline. Only 30 minutes for lunch? Perfect time for a word war or writing sprint. Do you really need to make a feast at dinner every night? Take that time to write those pages. It can work. It will work. But you have to make it work.

Published in The Writing Life

4 Comments

  1. My biggest problem is that between working at home, my 3-year-old, and housework (daily chores and the ‘deeper’ cleaning and organizing), there is always something to do that seems more pressing than writing, so it always gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. I’m still working on finding and sticking to a schedule that works for me and everything I try to get done in a day. I also strongly suspect that I fill my late-night free time with far too much facebooking and internet surfing, when I should be taking advantage of my daughter’s sleeping hours. I’m going to follow your advice and monitor myself for a few days to see how I’m using my time and what I could be doing differently.

    • I understand what you’re saying. I have older kids, so they are more independent and can help out with things around the house. With that said, you need to transition from “finding” time to write to “making” time to write. Facebook, while it’s awesome, is a time sink. If you write in front of the PC, disconnect it from the internet. Better yet, grab a notebook and curl up on the couch. But don’t get too comfortable, or else you might find yourself napping *smile*

      Let me know how it goes.

  2. A lot of little things can certainly add up to something bigger, like a novel. Of course you’re right. There are so many times when work could be done. In the carpool, doctors waiting rooms, etc. Good point!

    • I think many writers think they need large blocks of time to write. I used to think that way. If I didn’t have a least three hours at one time to work on a project, then I used the “not having time” excuse.

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