Making Time to Write

A few weeks ago I held a writers' workshop at the Andover library. Even though the weather was awful, 8 women braved the cold and showed up. I covered my planned topics and answered lots of questions. I hope I was helpful.

One question that came up, or maybe it was a topic on my list, was how to find time to write. It's a question that published authors get asked a lot.

I think if you want to write something and finish it, you have to be able to write every day. Five days a week is good. Six days a week is better. Seven is probably a day too much; you need time to recharge your creative batteries.

You don't need to write all day. I don't know many writers who do. Those that do either write slowly, in longhand or by two-finger typing, or they write part of the day and edit the rest of the day.

In fact, I write about an hour to an hour and a half six days a week. In that time I can write three to four pages a day. It might not sound like much, but it does add up.

If you want to write, find half an hour to an hour in your daily schedule. It should be a time when you can physically write. It needs to be at a time of the day when you have the energy to be creative. Most importantly, it needs to be the same time every day.

I've found that if I write at the same time every day, I get into the habit of writing. I can get ideas at any time, and often do. I might make notes on one project or another at any time. But I write at the same time every day (the morning, after showering, shaving, and so on). Because that's when I work, I'm able to get work done at that time.

In the course of an hour, you could get a few pages written. That might not seem like much. But at that pace, you'd have a short story written in a week or two. At that pace, you might finish a chapter of a book in a few weeks. Nonfiction might work differently; it does for me. Still, a few pages a day gets you closer to finishing whatever you're working on.

That is the key to the set time to write. You get a little more done each day. You make progress. Page by page your project gets completed. That is how you become a writer.

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