Finding Time to Write Without Quitting Your Day Job

“Time stays long enough for those who use it.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Are you struggling to find time to write?  Most writers I know have a “day job”, family, friends and lots of commitments.  They write around the corners of their lives.  Without the luxury to write full time, it is easy to get off track and run out of steam on a project.  So how do we squeeze more writing time into our life?  It requires getting organized, establishing routines and a willingness to say no.

You can increase your productivity by getting organized.  If it takes you ten minutes to figure out which is your last draft, you’ve lost valuable writing time.  A great organizational tool if you are working on a novel is the program Scrivener.  I think Scrivener’s biggest advantage is its simplicity in moving and tracking text.  Scrivener costs about $40 and they offer a 30 day free trial, so you can check it out for yourself.

Find a set time each week to write.  Schedule it into your calendar and make sure to keep this personal appointment.   There is a direct relationship between keeping this date with yourself and how much you value your writing life.  Next, look for an additional place to squeeze in the work of writing, maybe you can read, write or people watch on your lunch hour.  Do you see your character in the man behind the counter at the pannini shop?  Just adding 15 minutes a day to your writing time can catapult your writing forward.

When you want more time for your writing, it’s time to work your “no muscle”. Before you agree to be on that committee or take on a new project, take a deep breath and think about it.  Is this something you need to do?  Is it taking you away from writing or your other priorities?  What would happen if you said no?   One way to strengthen you your “no muscle” is with your phone.  Do you answer it when writing?  Just think of the time you can add to your writing minutes if you ignore your phone.

If squeezing more writing time into your life feels overwhelming, try just one of the above strategies for 21 days and you’ll be amazed in the difference it can make.  Do you have a creative strategy for eeking out extra writing time?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist.  If you want to push your writing dream forward, join her 4 week Big Dream Challenge

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Karen Cioffi said...

I love that quote. A couple of others on time that I love are:

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

“It’s not what you’ve done that matters - it’s what you haven’t done.” ~ Mark Twain

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot." ~ Michael Altshuler 112311

"I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.' ~ Louis E. Boone

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Love those quotes Karen. Thanks.

NancyCL said...

Great suggestions... Thanks much!

Magdalena Ball said...

Oh yes, the "no muscle"! I'm out of shape there, but I agree with you 100% that it's critical to finding time to write.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I think lack of "no muscle" is pandemic. We need to find a vaccine!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Mary Jo. I'm actually pushing this same thing on my on-line writers group for S.A.writers. We clutter our time up with so much "stuff" that we really don't need to do - then complain we have no time to write.

Heidiwriter said...

Oh yes! I need to do ALL those things!! And my "day job" IS writing (and editing)!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Aren't you lucky!

widdershins said...

I love Leo's quote!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

I suffer from every one of these problems. I've spent two hours already handling emails and blogs and not even started the edit file I pulled up on the computer first thing.

Beginning to panic about everything I haven't said no to.

New resolution: break every 30 minutes and tidy one thing from my desk before starting again. That should stop me dreaming.

Thanks for the wake up call Mary Jo.

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for all the great tips, Mary Jo!

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