How to make time to write when you don’t really have time

I have never met another writer who wasn’t somehow pressed for time. All of us have kids, day jobs, spouses/partners, stuff we gotta do – even me, although right now I’m enjoying an oasis reserved for creativity during this period of my life. I’m trying to milk it for all its worth while I’ve got it, and if it works out, art will officially be my job and I can make it a lifestyle.

In the meantime, however, I too have to struggle to meet client deadlines and get everything done in a day that I possibly can. Here is what has helped me when I’ve been working 60 hours and still have a deadline:
1)Outsource as much of your brain as you can. For instance, I’ve turned my cell phone into my personal assistant. I plug in all my appointments, deadlines, etc. to my Google Calendar, and I because I have an in-house version, the calendar can send me SMS reminders via my cell phone – making sure I’m reminded a few days ahead of time by email and by phone that I have a deadline or a visit from Aunt Irma. It leaves me free-er to think about my work.

2)Buy extra packs of undies. Sometimes, especially on deadline, you might just have to let the laundry go an extra week. There’s a reason panties come in packs.

3)Rotate writing locations. I don’t regularly write in any one place besides my home – I’ve found if I switch between three-four coffee shops if I only have one night/a few hours a week to write, it takes longer to build up the “regular” relationships that wind up interrupting writing.

4)Let the truly little stuff slide. Believe me, you’ll find a time to catch up to it – don’t miss your kid’s concert, and certainly keep the house clean. But unless you have dangerous allergies, you can probably skip vacuuming for a week. Unfortunately, a Roomba needs supervision so it’s not really a task outsource. Believe me, I’ve tried.

5)Don’t tell anyone what you’re doing. Something about announcing “I’m off to be creative!” sparks the jealous inner children in other people. If you have to, say you’re meeting your sponsor and hope no one knows that you’re not in a 12 step. But if you pick that time to write, do something to protect it, right down to for an hour “losing” your cell phone.


  1. Ann Marie

    I love these ideas. I also think that if people can afford it ($300) and deal with it, netbooks are great. They fit in small bags and have great battery power, so I find I take it out more than I took a laptop. I use it in waiting rooms, even.

    I’m working on rewriting something for a magazine, and I was JUST thinking yesterday “if only I had time this summer…” and now I guess I do! Thanks!

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