The Right Time to Write

If you are a writer or a blogger or both you might feel challenged to find time to write when you have a job, a family, and take care of a household.

Even at this time in my life, I must assign myself blocks of time to write. Otherwise, I would find excuses not to write, even though I love writing. It’s a discipline and I, like many people, make excuses.

Current excuses:

  • Is American Idol on?
  • Should I pull weeds from my flower gardens while the sun is shining?
  • Should I be spending more time with the grand kids or visiting the folks?
  • Do I need to mow?
Past Excuses:

  • My kids need to go to ball practice, dance class, or a school function.
  • I need to fix dinner.
  • I need to help with homework.
  • The house needs cleaning.
  • I need to sleep. (I still do)
Good news! Did you know that you can squeeze several words out of only a few minutes a day? You may be surprised what you can do in 15 minutes.

With 15 minutes you can:
  • Start learning the basics of playing an instrument.
  • Clear out a dishwasher and load it back.
  • Read a few pages of a good novel.
  • Research for your writing.
  • Write a few lines of poetry.
In 15 minutes (if you can type 30 words a minute) you could write 450 words. This could be a blog entry, short story, or part of a chapter – or a love letter to yourself. I’m just saying.

You don't have to be home to write. Try writing:

  • In restaurants
  • In waiting rooms
  • Lunch time
  • Break time
  • Kids napping time
  • After everyone is asleep
  • Before your family awakes in the morning
  • Before you go to work
  • While your family is watching TV
  • While you are waiting on your children
  • Before (and during) seminars. Not that I would ever do that
A Few Tips:
  • Before you begin, have an idea or direction in mind.
  • use your 15 to schedule your 15.
  • Always have a notebook with you.
  • Don’t edit, just write.
  • If your child is feeling neglected give he or she the job of timekeeper. Set an egg timer and tell them to come back when the timer goes off. Or give them writing materials and encourage their writing.
  • Find your own space where you can write and not have to put away your things when you are done.
  • Remember, when it's time to take a break- take it.
Later, you might even find an hour or two hour of uninterrupted time on the weekend or late Friday night to write. Think of it as treating yourself.

I write:

  • 30 – 60 minutes every morning before I go to my job, Monday through Friday but not before I get my cup of coffee.
  • 30 minutes after I get home- if I have have one brain cell leftover.
  • 15plus minutes at lunch.
  • Saturday a couple of hours
  • Sunday- whatever I can get in. This is the day that writing is not on my list to do. If I get it done -great, if not that's ok too.
Here is what I did with only 10 minutes a day for one summer. I hadn’t picked up my guitar in years. But, I wanted to play again. During my vacation one summer, I decided I would commit 10 minutes of my day to practicing the guitar. By the end of the summer, I was playing again.

And If you feel sometimes that the Internet steals your time away from writing, use a notebook to write OR do what Elizabeth Spann Craig did – go where your internet won't work. Read here about her really cool get-a-way.

What do you do when life interrupts your writing? What’s your right time to write?


Photo source:


Arlee Bird said…
Oh, Teresa, you hit a chord with me and I'm not talking about a chord on the guitar. I can certainly identify with those excuses. There's a lot of time out there, it just has to be budgeted correctly.

Tossing It Out
Hi Teresa .. what a great post, and Elizabeth's too .. I have no idea how I'd write if I was 'stuck' with normality (would love to be!) .. but if I had of been .. I wouldn't be blogging.

I keep notes, write notes, keep information that I can draw on - now I just have to assimilate it all here & then I can draft and write.

15 mins or 10 mins .. we can do so much can't we .. I want to read more, exercise .. etc etc .. it's habit and pracise to get to the habit ..

Love it - & by the way -thanks for adding me to your "follows" .. very happy to be there .. it's great to be in touch .. happy writing Friday - Hilary
Great tips and thanks for the mention!

I'm tweeting this post. :)
Mason Canyon said…
You're right, a few minutes here and there can add up before you know it. Inspiring post.

Thoughts in Progress
Joanne said…
Hm, I hear you on the American Idol thing. Last year, I didn't watch at all. This year, it drew me in. If I tally up all the writing hours I've given to Idol :/

So who do you want to win?
Terri Tiffany said…
I like what you said about going someplace to write where your Internet doesn't work. I might just find that place:)
JeMA said…
I must say that if I could get my behind out of bed in the morning THAT would be my time to create.

My latest conflict:
getting the house ready to sell
(the house "talks" to me about what I need to be doing instead of painting!)
Unknown said…
These are great. I'm going to post this link on my blog today.

Deb Shucka said…
This was really great to read. It is amazing what can be done with ten minutes here and there. And Idol can be recorded. :-)
Living on a large working farm my plans usually go out the window. Cattle get out or Hubby needs help, I'm beckoned to load syringes or pop on a tractor. Seems as though I'm always writing in my head, then when I do sit down it just all comes together. I like to compose my children's stories by hand...don't really know why...just do. Thanks for all your great tips.

Ya'll have a fantastically blessed Friday!!!
I need to follow the one about going to where the internet won't work!! Dang that wireless!!
Lee, Exactly

Hilary, We all have our challenges, but we need to remember to not give up.

Elizabeth, THANK YOU for tweeting!

Mason, Thanks!

Joanne, It use to be Crystal but now it's Lee.

Terri, You go girl!

Jema, Don't listen to the house. If you clean it, it will just get messy again. Paint!

Clarisa, Thanks for the plug!

Deb, It can...but I have watch it sometime - or not.

Nezzy, I like your way. I like pen and ink but am learning to go straight to the laptop.

Karen, It's a trap - the wireless, the internet - pulling us into the dark, but wonderful hole of cyberspace.
mariel said…
great tips...seems you've been peering through my windows. I grab a moment of writing anywhere I can!
I seem to do best in the evening --7 to midnight. I try to make good use of down time -- waiting rooms, parking lots, relaxing at the park.

Really enjoyed the post.
Giggles and Guns
Mary Aalgaard said…
Great tips, Teresa. I've used several of those strategies just this week. I wrote up notes on an interview I did yesterday while I ate my lunch today. The chewing must have generated some good words and phrases. I'm ready to type up my next article for my local women's magazine.
Mariel, Did you see me? :)

Maribeth, My writing seems to consume me. I think of it standing in lines, waiting in traffic and any other place - that I don't want to be.

Mary, That's great. I need to get a couple of shorts out. There nearly finished.
Diane said…
Great schedule and very disciplined! Have a great weekend. :O)
Rinkly Report said…
Very good advice. BUT..... I've been retired for many years and I still don't have enough time!
Betty Manousos said…
Brillant post/thoughts!
Great tips, Teresa. Thank you for sharing with us!
B xx
Ashley Ashbee said…
I totally know what you mean about having to force yourself to write... It's a discipline, I think, especially if you're insecure about your writing.

And I really like your advice to carry a notebook and write not edit... That's a good way to train yourself to write without inhibition, I think.

I found your blog through your comment on Familiar Spirit's blog... Beautiful! I also love what you wrote in your "about me."
Unknown said…
Teresa, I am trying not to let the computer monopolize my time as I have flesh and blood family and friends that want time and attention. Dividing ones time is not always easy.

I can get obsessed with writing. I have several articles started and thoughts hatching. Sometimes I throw them together too quickly and need to edit a bit more, but yours always look so professional. I admire your work and effort.
Anonymous said…
I generally write my manuscript during my son's nap time and try to get up early in the mornings so I can do the blogging. To keep myself focused I generally write the blog posts days in advance, schedule them, then give myself several days of just working on the manuscript.
Unknown said…
Just found this great post and yes, it resonates with me TOTALLY! I think I do too much in one sitting at home, therefore get tired and irritable so I have now invested in a small Netbook, slip it into my bag, take myself off to a park or by the sea, change my surroundings and pen either a blog post or some more of my book.

Thanks for this post - it's nice to see I'm not alone.


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