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  • Embrace Writing: 5 Ways to Find Time to Write
Embrace Writing: 5 Ways to Find Time to Write
Written by
Elle Mott
November 2016
Written by
Elle Mott
November 2016

I applaud anyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo, and wish you success. For those who aren’t in the NaNoWriMo crowd, it’s not too late to jump in. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual event, happens every November (Nov. 1-30), is a novel writing project that brings together professional and amateur writers from around the world, open to anyone who wants to write (or try to write) a 50,000-word book in that month. The website for NaNoWriMo has loads of resources, along with registration information. Check ‘em out at: http://nanowrimo.org/about

If you have signed up for NaNoWri Mo and wonder “where am I going to find the time to write that many words”—or if you are aspiring on your own to get something written, such as I am—then this post is for you.

For me, it’s not so much to find time, but to embrace overlooked time. And then, to follow-up by using that (otherwise lost) time to write. Below is a list of what works for me. I hope you find them to be a jumping off point to come up with what will work for you.

1. Schedule It 

We each have our own routine it seems, from work to family obligations. For those who keep a calendar or appointment book, schedule in time to write. When something suddenly comes up—or a friend or colleague asks us to fit them into our calendar, it can be easy to cancel or move that “writing appointment.”

DON’T do it.

Move something else if you have to, but don’t cancel time to write. Consider writing a priority, and something precious, not to be minimalized. Perhaps a block of time for writing can be scheduled late in the day, as a reward when all else is done—but only if you are a natural night owl.

Me? I’m not (a night owl). For me, time is scheduled before my friends wake up. I write in the early morning, and often times during my lunch breaks at work.

2. Give Something Up

We all have stuff we like to fill our lives up with, from seeing the latest movie at the theater to playing ball with the kids, a morning trip to the gym, or what-have ya, ad infinitum. Again, treat writing time as something important, and if possible—more important than the inconsequential events.

Me? I don’t have a TV. No need for me to catch up on the latest episode of the latest TV show, when instead I can be writing my own story.

3. Notice down-times, or empty, wasted moments

Carry your writing journal with you to that much needed doctor visit. (Why flip through magazines for an hour in the waiting room?) Have it in your purse or nap-sack to bring out when waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store. (Does the person in line ahead of you really need that much stuff?)

I recently moved to a different neighborhood; quiet for my birds and peaceful for me, but that means a longer commute by bus each day for work in the big city. My round trip bus ride gives me a good hour to write.

4. Communicate

Tell your loved ones that while you are happy to be there for them, it is not the only thing you have going on.

An hour of writing for you could mean having your child next to you, with crayons at their favorite coloring book. Or if your child is older, encourage them to write as well—and then in the last few minutes of your shared writing time, read some of what you’ve written to each other.

For me, (I have no little ones around), my involvement in friendships is precious, but so is “Elle Time.” I let them know when I can and can’t do this or that.   

5. Set aside distractions

You’ve scheduled your time to write, right? Well then, write.

Don’t take phone calls or jump up when the postal carrier arrives. Turn your phone off, close out the Facebook page, make sure the dog has already been walked, and let the mail sit in your box until your writing time is up.

For me, my birds get fresh water and a routine cleanliness check of their cage each morning—that takes about five minutes. I get that task out of the way then settle in to my writing time while they happily go about their morning bath time.   

I hope you find the above to be helpful. If any of my ideas have been especially helpful, or if you have another idea to share, please let me know. See more on my blog, updated weekly, at https://novellemott.blogspot.com/

Elle Mott
Creative Nonfiction Writer


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