Making the Time to Write

Tick tock tick tock....

Tick tock tick tock….

“But I don't have the time to write!”

Cue a long pause. It isn't a silent pause, but one filled with the sounds of me choking back retorts that I'd likely regret and may hurt feelings. Time is a fickle mistress. We get up, we do our  things, we go to work or school, we come home, we do more things. ‘We', as the collective human species, may have reproduced and have spawn running around under foot. Other parts of this ‘we' may have cats or dogs that leech away time.

Some of us are worried about money, our careers, whether or not we'll be able to succeed at the things we view as our dreams. We wonder and we worry. We are doing things — lots of things!

All of the things!

We are busy, busy people.

“I don't have the time to write” is an excuse. You have the time.

You do not wish to spend the time.

There, I've said it. I can hear the excuses piling up, clattering on one another in and endless stream until the entire lot of them steams from their combined heat. It also stinks more than a little bit from the combined power of trying to dodge responsibility for your time management skills — or the lack thereof. In the time it has taken you to read through to this point, it's entirely possible that you've spent half a minute or more.

Time isn't a fickle mistress, most of the time. Really, she's quite reasonable, once you respect her. Once you change your perspective on the flow of time. Once you decide that you will make the most of the time that you do have.

You have the time to write. You may not be wanting to spend it on writing, however.

Each time you go to say, “But I don't have the time!” take a moment to think about what you're saying. Take a moment to think about what you actually did with your day. There are some things we can't avoid. Showering is a good example. Sure, you can skip your shower, but the people around you might not appreciate that very much. You need to eat. Eating is really, really important. (I don't want anyone to die from starvation making the time to write.)

However, there are ways you can spend your time better so that you can write.

Did you know that if you spend five minutes a day writing, you can write a novel? Most of us can write at least 30 words per minute. 30 x 5 = 150 words. Just to be even less generous

Tick, tock... tick, tock...

Tick, tock… tick, tock…

toward your typing prowess, let's assume you can write 100 words in 5 minutes. This is 20 words a minute. If you really want to write, you can manage to write 100 words in 5 minutes.

Let's assume that your book is 100,000 words long. This is pretty long for the average book, so this is a little over the top, but stick with me for a little while. If you write 100 words a day, in 1,000 days, you will have completed your novel. In just under 3 years, you will have completed first draft of your book.

If you can't spare five minutes out of your day, you don't want to write. You're not a writer. You're a pretender, who wishes they could write, but really doesn't want to write.

Five minutes, a little under three years. (2.739 years, if you're wondering.)

If you make that ten minutes a day, you'll cut that time in half. A year and a half, and you could have written that book you keep swearing you wanted to write.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

By this point in time, a minute has gone by, passing without our notice or real care. That was 20 words that could've been a part of your novel. You might go check facebook, twitter, or google+ — you might even go browse pinterest for pictures of cats.

Those are another few minutes you've spent doing something else because you don't really want to write. “I don't have time” is an excuse that people who don't really want to write make in order to avoid writing. It is a way to get an understanding nod from other ‘writers' who use that same excuse to ensure they don't have to do the work being being a writer. It is a way to be a part of the community of writers who don't write anything at all.

In five minutes a day, you could write a book within three years. In ten minutes a day, you could write a book in a year and a half. Fifteen minutes a day, and you could write a book in less than a year. If you spend twenty minutes a day writing, your book will be done in half of a year. The possibilities are limitless if you decide to make the time to write.

Because you want to write, right?

So, how can you free up time to write? Change how you think about the world. Change about how you think about yourself. Pick up your pen or go to your keyboard. Set your alarm clock five minutes earlier and write before you get dressed or shower. Go to bed five minutes later. Instead of going out for lunch with your co-workers, sit at your desk and write. Keep a pen and paper near you while you're preparing dinner. While you're waiting between the ‘stir occasionally' directions, write something. Take your ipod to the bathroom with you while you're doing your business and tap out sentences in one of the note-taking apps. Invest in a voice recorder and speak your novel while you drive and transcribe it later.

Amazing! There is time there in your schedule for writing.

Here is a list of things you can do to make five minutes a day to write:

  1. Use Social Media less and spend those five minutes writing
  2. Get up five minutes earlier or go to bed five minutes later
  3. Sacrifice five minutes of your lunch break to write
  4. Write while preparing dinner
  5. Write while watching television — better yet, just turn off the television and write instead
  6. Write while watching your children at their sports events (They'll understand if you're spending your five minutes. They really will. They will not spontaneous combust because you looked away.)
  7. Voice record while driving
  8. Write on your fancy phone or tech devices while doing your business in the washroom
  9. Get a voice recorder and talk to it while you bathe or shower
  10. Write during dinner — you can write while your chewing (And your family might be amused by your dedication in this way.)

These are only ten ways you can make the time — if you want to make the time.

So, why aren't you writing? Stop making excuses and start making words.

Writers write. Posers make excuses.

Leave a Comment:

Jess Versteeg says May 13, 2013

Great tips! I’m going to share this on my blog.

Dane F. Baylis says May 14, 2013

Thank you RJ BLAIN! Add to this, notebooks…Never leave home without them! Do the laundry and your re-writes. Waiting at the car wash? It’s time to revise. Sitting at an airport or flying from A to B? Time enough for a couple of chapters in there easy!

Mucho Gracias!

Dane Baylis.

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