Sunday, March 15, 2009

Distrac--Hey Look, Something Shiny! Finding Time to Write

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy


Aside from getting stuck, this is probably one of the most common reasons for not writing. Family priorities, work, chores, pets, kids -- whatever -- there's always something that pulls us away when we'd rather be writing. Until scientists get that cloning thing down, all we can do is roll with it and try to carve out some time for us to get those words on paper.

Luckily, there are a few things we can do to raise our chances.

1. Pick a time to write, however small, and dedicate that time to YOU.

If you have thirty minutes while the kids are showering and getting ready for school, use that time to get a page or paragraph down. It may not seem like you're accomplishing much at first, but all those minutes and words add up, and carving out a routine will help you realize that you need that time to write just as much as all the other priorities on your plate.

2. Get out of the house.

If you simply can't focus (or be left alone) at home, find a way to write for an hour at the local coffee shop, library, or diner. Knowing you have that time every day (or every other day) can let you be more productive. This is your time and you can be as selfish about that time as you wish.

3. Create a writing space

I both work and write at home, and I find that when I try to write at my work desk, every e-mail that pops up distracts me. If I wander on a sentence, it's easy to open a web browser and check my forums (or blogs) and avoid the actual writing part. So I have my laptop and I write downstairs in the living room where my distractions are fewer. Being is a place that has no other purpose than to write can help put you in the zone for that activity.

4. Stop feeling guilty.

When I got my agent, I was relieved and thrilled for all the obvious reasons, but one weird reason was pretty high on the list. I finally felt that it was OKAY for me to spend time writing. I wasn't just wasting my time and putting so much into some silly hobby that wouldn't go anywhere. Well, don't be like me and feel you need that validation to feel it's okay to work on your dream. Give yourself permission to make writing an important part of your life and not just something you do "when you can find the time."

If it's important to you, make the time, however small. You'll be a lot happier for it.

Oh look, it's raining.


  1. You know how hard it is to get rid of the guilt, though! I appreciate the sentiment.

  2. Have I told you lately that you're awesome? I don't feel I say it enough. :) Thanks for this. I needed it. <3

  3. Great article. Distractions = Frustrations! At times I believe that I'm a distraction magnet.