Finding Time to Write – without the guilt

Busy, busy, busy – is that your mantra? So many obligations, projects, commitments, tasks… you want to write, you really do. You tell yourself you’ll write as soon as you get time. But when is that going to happen? Finding time to write is as likely as finding the novel that ‘writes itself’.

Finding time to writeAnd yet, we manage to lead ourselves to believe that elusive ‘spare’ time is just around the corner…

I’ll find time to write once the kids start school.

As soon as I finish the housework, I’ll sit down and write.

Once we get this project up and running, I’ll be able to cut back at work.

Any of those sound familiar? Add to that, ‘once the holidays start,’ or ‘once the holidays finish,’ and many more. Writers can become obsessed with the idea of finding time to write.

Finding Time to write

Here’s the truth. There is no time. At least, not in a tangible way, lying around, maybe hidden down behind the couch, just waiting for you to find it. You might find a few hairballs, the remote, and enough loose change for an ice-cream, but you won’t find time.

Why not? Because time in the future does not exist. Nor does time in the past, not anymore — it’s gone. The only time there is, is now. Right now. If you want time, you’ll have to grab this time.

So how can you give yourself time to write, when there’s so many other things that need doing?

The Myth of Multitasking

Multitasking seems like a good approach to finding time, but it’s really just a promise not to do our best. When you multitask, you are acknowledging each task does not have your full attention. If you only give 50% focus on a task, then you’ll only accomplish 50% of the result possible.

You’re passionate about your writing, so it deserves your complete engagement. When you start writing, commit to giving it 100% of your focus.

Finding time to write is too passive, take action, prioritise your writing.

Make Your Own Priorities

In their book More Time for You, Tator and Latson guide the reader through approaches to discover what they should be spending their time on. One key question the text asks is:

If money and time were no issue, what would you spend your time doing? Free-write for two minutes and create a list of everything you’d choose to do.

Did you choose finding time for writing? Or did you choose to just BE WRITING?

Now, it’s easy to work out what you want to do, but how do you convince yourself you need to do it?

Here’s the gem in More Time for You

More Time for YouYou in One Year

What will you want to have accomplished over the next year? How do you want your life to look in one year?

Imagine you have travelled forward in time and already accomplished those goals. Write down what you’ve achieved. Feels good huh?

Now plan for those accomplishments, what resources, strengths and skills will you need?

What benefits and opportunities will come your way once you accomplish these goals?

What obstacles will you need to overcome to reach that goal?

Finding Time to Write – Right Now

If your goal involves publishing a book, then you know you HAVE to write it. This future you is possible, you’ve already seen it happen. You just need to take the steps to get there. Now that you know how good it will feel to achieve those goals, it’d be just too sad if you don’t because you’re prioritising doing dishes, socialising online or feeding children (okay, still do the last one).

No more finding time to write. Go write. Right now.


  1. I think this is an important post because, at the end of the day, nobody is really forcing you to write. It’s something you do because you love it, and something you want to do. You need to find the time to do it. I am often very busy and find myself wasting time on things other than writing, but once I do sit down and focus, it feels amazing.

    • That’s right Alice, and yet there seems to be something about our wiring that prevents us from believing we have the right to put our interests first when we plan our day, but the things we can produce add value to the community and deserve attention. Thanks for commenting 🙂
      Charmaine Clancy recently posted…Finding Time to Write – without the guiltMy Profile

  2. Just finding time to come over here and read your latest. 🙂

    Very good. As a matter of fact, I do the “envision where I want to be in a year. In five years.” Keeps a fire under my arse.

    Truth is, you can schedule time in the future, but that doesn’t ensure time. Things crop up all the time. Just schedule and do your best.
    M.L. Swift recently posted…Spotlight On: Jessica Bell and IndiestructibleMy Profile

  3. For me, taking the time to center myself in the morning is huge. It starts the tone right. But not getting distracted by all the online stuff is key. I struggle to find the balance sometimes.

    • That resonates with me at the moment Julie. One of our family challenges this week is to get up early and all go for a walk together – we start the day more focused, the kids get ready for school and REMEMBER all their items in just 15minutes compared to their usual two hour drag — even the dogs are happy!

      I was worried it’d eat into my freewriting in the morning and other tasks, but I get the writing done while everyone gets their shoes on and the dogs ready, then when I get back I’m hyped and ready to work. Mornings rock 🙂
      Charmaine Clancy recently posted…Niche Marketing for Authors – why you want less readersMy Profile

  4. Charmaine, I love your new blog! So helpful! Also, really loved your points up above.


  1. […] you tried the activity in the last post: Finding Time to Write – without the guilt, you’ll have worked out what you would LIKE to be doing with your time. Perhaps it was […]