Make Time to Write

So often I hear: I want to write so much. I’ve got a story to tell but I don’t have the time yet.

I understand. I truly do. But as I carefully explain, there never will be time unless you make it. Stay up half an hour later every night. Stuff ten minutes of ideas into a notebook while you are sitting at the bus stop. Time to write isn’t born. It’s made.

I don’t know how often I convince anyone but I think I did once. We were having a conversation mid-panel-break and when the break was over, she picked up her bag, thanked me and said goodbye. ‘Aren’t you going to stay for the other half of the panel discussion,’ I asked. ‘No,’ she said, smiling. ‘I’m going home to write. Making time starts now.’ I wish I knew her name because I suspect it might be on the front of a book one day soon.

I always struggle to find the time to write. I have a family and a daytime job. More books on shelves hasn’t made any extra time miraculously appear. In fact, quite the opposite. Now I also need time to speak in schools and attend festivals. I love that part but it means I have less time than ever to write.

Sometimes I rush down to my laptop before dinner and scrawl a quick pargraph from an idea I’ve been carrying around in my head (or notebook) all day. I read it through and delete half of it. After dinner I rush back, in between supervising homework and packing lunches. I delete those few remaining sentences and wonder why I bothered with them in the first place.

Sometimes I feel too tired to write later at night. Usually I don’t get back to my office until 11pm. Maybe I’ll take the day off and write some more in the morning, I think. Mum, my tooth hurts, can you make a dental appointment before school? OK. Maybe I’ll write in the afternoon, I decide. Mum, can you pick me up early from soccer? OK. I’m flexible. I can do this. It’s got to be the midnight hour or nothing. *sigh*

I’ll be tired and sleepy but a cup of tea will help. And once the fingers are flying, the words are usually flowing. Hopefully I’ll write something good. And if it doesn’t work out that way, I’ll just delete it tomorrow in those few moments before dinner. Sometimes I make a lot of progress and sometimes I make a little. But I always make some time to write.

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11 responses to “Make Time to Write”

  1. Never a truer word spoken. I try to take notice. Sometimes it doesn’t work but a lot of the time is does.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I love that post. With a full time job, two small kids and a husband who works really long hours and teaches karate two nights a week my ‘spare’ time is spent running the kids around, doing washing, groceries, cleaning and cooking BUT I decided a long time ago that to find the time to write I had to be willing to give up something else. I decided that watching TV (except for a couple of favourite shows) had to be cut right down and sleep – yes I have to stay up late or get up early to fit it in but I figure one day I’ll think it’s worth it. I also had to start exercising in my lunch break instead of in ‘home’ time. We all have things to do – but I find some people will always fit more in their day than others – I guess it depends on your motivation and attitude.
    Sally Hall

  3. Great post, Sandy. So true what you say about having to make time to write if you really want to write. The words don’t just magically appear on the page. I have taken of late to stealing moments in the darkened ends of corridors at work where I scrawl notes and lines that run through my head. It actually enhances my day because I am actively brewing my story bit by bit as the day progresses. By the time I get home, I am usually rearing to go, wanting to get all the details down on the page. I think it is all about nurturing the things you love. With writing as one of them, it’s essential to give it the time it deserves if you ever expect it to grow into something great.

  4. trudietrewin says:

    Sounds like you’ve really mastered the time-juggling, Sandy. How you get so much done is an inspiration!

  5. SANDY says:

    Sounds like we are all on the same page – pardon the awful pun. It’s so hard to find the time but I think it’s one of the ‘tests’ we go through as writers – a true writer will make the time – becuase we love writing and are focussed and dedicated to a dream – whether its growing a new idea into something bigger or polishing a ms. I like the way Lynne put it – about finding time to nurture what we love.

  6. Oliver says:

    Hi Sandy
    You’re spot on, it what separates the writers from the dreamers. If you can dream it, you can write it!
    I know a writer friend who juggles 3 kids and a hubby, yet can be working on multiple stories at a time! She’s truly inspiring 🙂
    I’m sorta glad it’s daylight savings, means I can write in my notebook when I’m stuck in traffic haha

  7. webmaths says:

    Thanks for this post Sandy, it has some great advice! As a Maths teacher it is very logical that if you write for so many minutes each day, then you will eventually finish a novel (or short story or whatever). I have begun writing a novel (7000 words so far), but have not been writing lately. You have given me the advice and inspiration to get back to work – maybe 500 words a day?
    ps. I read a lot of fiction (unusual for a Mathematics teacher?). I am currently reading “The Magic Thief” by Sarah Prineas. It is a great read!

  8. Sandy, I already think of you as super-woman writer! You’re also an excellent blog writer. Love that count-down thingy on the top of your page – very inspiring.

  9. Thanks for the vote of confidence guys. We do what we have to do, hey? It’s not easy to find the time but we don’t let that get in our way.

  10. Hi WebMaths (Jeff?)

    You and I are on the same page. I am a numbers type – did Industrial Math and Computing for tertiary study. I can still remember the look of horror when I told my high school English teacher what I was intending. I’ve since discovered I can’t escape words but that there is a lot of maths in writing. My chapter word counts always fall in a sine curve for starters. One day I’m going to write a paper called ‘The Mathematics of Writing’ – perhaps we should work on that together! I’m glad to hear you are writing again.

  11. Holy says:

    Its interesting, i liked your blog, its amazing. That again gives one a good idea to pencil some good memories which can be cherished after years and when we read it after many years it gives us happiness. The most i liked in your blog Time to write isn’t born. It’s made.After all we should understand the universal truth that time does its job and we have to do ours. Time and tides waits for none.

    dsi r4

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