How do You Capture Writing Time?

As I approach 60, I know that life occurs in stages and I wake up amazed some days at where I am in relation to where I thought I would be. I find when talking to others my age, they are either pursuing their dream or feeling overwhelmed and disappointed that there is never enough time to reach their goal. As a nurse and also a shop owner,  I have heard it more than once from peers..... "I will do such and such when I have more time" or " when I retire I want to take up sewing, quilting, writing, painting, volunteering," and the list goes on. Well folks, I am here to say for the record for those who want to pursue writing the time is now.

While some other skills, hobbies, or crafts may have to wait because of finances or family obligations, writing can be done with little investment and with as little time as 15 minutes a day. It is all about capturing those precious moments of time to pursue your writing dream.

 Writers just beginning need only a piece of paper and a pen. Simple enough, and of course the desire to say something to the reader. I dare say that those of us with some experience need only a pen and paper as well. The vast amount of courses, books, and software that help writers to hone their skills are invaluable but a writer needs a pen, paper, the spark of an idea, and TIME to pursue the dream.

So how do writers capture writing time?

 I find that the most important thing is to prioritize. Making a list of activities that take time in each day and writing this in on the page helps to identify snippets of time that can be directed towards writing time. Scheduling a set time for writing on the calendar makes it as important as any other item you schedule, but only you/I can decide how important to make it.

Preparing is another way to capture writing time. Always carry a small notepad and pen with you wherever you go. Writing phrases of a conversation, the colors of a sunset, the scents, sounds, or adjectives describing an emotional or important event can be jotted down. Later those few words may be all it takes to flesh out a great story or article. Technology allows many notes to be made or recorded on your cell phone deleting the need for pen and paper so being prepared can be a simple as knowing how to utilize those apps on your phone or notepad.

I find that the best way to capture writing time is to actively pursue it After I prioritize the list of tasks for my day, then prepare by having pen and paper, I am better able to pursue valuable writing time every time I have a few extra minutes during the day. I work a part time nursing job and run a quilt shop but I can still flesh out a scene during my lunch break or write a character description during a lull at the shop. I use waiting time at appointments, extra minutes in the early morning or 30 minutes before bed.

 Capturing writing time can be a challenge for those who have kids at home but so rewarding as you find time to squeeze writing in between homework, bedtime, and other family activities. Try for at least 15 minutes a day and you will gradually be able to add more time as your story or article begins to take shape.

For those who pursue writing full time,  an eight- ten hour writing day might be the norm. Others like myself must grab writing time in between another job or business. When writing is a priority, capturing writing time is as much a part of life as doing laundry or making dinner. You just do it. Prioritize, prepare, and pursue.

 How do you capture your writing time?

Terri Forehand captures writing time between nursing, quilting, running a quilt shop, and being a grandma. Author of The Cancer Prayer Book and The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane, she writes from her home nestled in the hills of Brown County Indiana. Visit her author blog at and her author website at


Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I capture writing time by scheduling it on my calendar and then I protect that time. I also carry a notebook with me to squeeze it between my daily activities.

widdershins said...

Capturing time? With a large magical net and pointy trident to encourage obedience!

Magdalena Ball said...

Good tips, Terri, though I have to admit my techniques are more akin to Widdershins these days than to good project management practices! That said, your 'p' idea are very effective.

Debbie A Byrne said...

I need to continue to work on this. I sometimes have a notebook with me when away from home, but I don't always remember.

Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, great suggestions on finding . . . capturing time to write. I'm in the process of moving again, so I'm using Widder's strategy lately also.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Terri for the prod to get organised! I do well for a week or two and then Life gets in the way. Although I still write I become more stressed as I'm not ticking off those tasks on my to-do list. Or worse, they never got there!

Active vs. Passive Writing: Energize Your Prose!

 by Suzanne Lieurance Ever feel like your stories and articles are a bit slow-paced and wordy?   If so, that’s probably because you’re using...