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One of the things that I hear over and over from clients is that they’d love to write a book, if only they could find the time.

This is a near-universal complaint. 

But the truth is, writing doesn’t HAVE to take a ton of time. I’d love to be able to sit and write for hours, but I often have to schedule it around other things — my business isn’t going to run itself, after all, and I have family obligations as well. So I’ve had to learn how to figure out how much time I actually have and how to best spend it.


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Is It Really True You Have No Time To Write?

Time management experts often say that you make time for the things that are most important to you.

I think that’s overly simplistic. Sometimes we really do have obligations that take up huge chunks of time and which can’t easily be moved or ignored.

  • You might have a job, be in school full-time, or be in the beginning stages of building a business.
  • You might be the primary caretaker for your kids or for a relative who is ill or incapacitated.
  • You might be ill yourself and need to schedule around doctor’s appointments.

These obligations can make it feel like you have zero time to write. They can leave you low on energy and high on stress, which isn’t a good combination if you want to accomplish something creative.

But do you really have NO time to write, or do you have only limited time? It’s important to look at how you spend your time over the course of a week so you can see where writing might fit in.

Remember: while it would be nice to have a big block of uninterrupted time to write, it isn’t necessary. Don’t confuse desire with necessity.


Take a look at how you’re spending your time and identify some areas where you could squeeze in a few minutes of writing. 

Train Your Brain To Write In Ten Minute Blocks

Some writers feel like they really DO need a long block of time to write. For these writers, it takes half an hour or more to get in the right frame of mind to write, and if they get interrupted, they have to start all over.

The good news here is that you can train your brain to stop taking so long to settle down!

If you’ve read my free guide to smashing writers’ block, you know I LOVE free writing.

Carve out ten minutes a day to free write. Do this for a week. That way, your brain begins to associate writing time with being productive right away.

Once you’ve done this, go back to your calendar and identify some ten minute blocks you can use to write.

When I worked retail, I used to spend my 10 minute breaks and part of my 30 minute meal break writing. You might be able to write during breaks at work too or while the kids are doing their homework.

Redefine What Constitutes Writing

Writers often focus on their daily word count, but there are a ton of other tasks that need to be done in order to get your book written.

  • Research, including looking up things online that are relevant to your book, posting in relevant groups on social media, or talking to people who have been in the same situation as your characters.
  • Planning, whether that consists of writing an entire outline or jotting down notes or bits of dialogue as they occur to you.
  • Inspiration, whether that means making vision boards on Pinterest to represent your characters or watching a TV show with a similar theme

All of these things are part of writing, so if you do some of them but don’t hit your word count for the day, it’s okay.

You don’t want to do these things exclusively, of course, but make sure you take them into account when thinking about how much time you can and do spend writing.

Is finding the time to write a challenge for you? Share what’s worked and hasn’t worked in the comments below! You can also join in the conversation about time management over on this thread in my Facebook group.

About Writing Coach Jack Ori

About Writing Coach Jack Ori

Jack Ori helps aspiring authors finish writing the books only they can write and get them out in the world. He is also a young adult and women's fiction author; his second novel , Heart Failure, will be released in December 2021.

If you would like more support with your own writing projects, join Jack's free writing community on Facebook, Give Birth to That Book!

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