I was recently visiting with a man who was talking about how he wanted to write a book, but he didn't have the time to do so. For some people, the lack of time is a very real thing. Whether it’s due to their work schedule, life stage, family, or a plethora of other reasons, they legitimately don't have the time. That’s fine. Hopefully, a new season is right around the corner.
However, when people state that they want to write but don't have the time, I have found it helpful to ask a few questions and help them realize they do have time to write. Most people can make time to write but don't have a plan or a schedule. There is no question that writing takes time, but if writing is important, we must make it a priority.
Take baby steps
One of the things I like to discuss with a person looking for the time to write is what they think it takes, time-wise, to be a successful writer.
They immediately tell me that the great writers they know of typically write all day. Of course, unless people quit their day job, they cannot spend this much time writing. However, they can actually get a lot done with an hour or less per day.
Think about it for a moment: a smaller book is around 25,000 words. If you were able to write only 250 words each day, how long would it take to get to 25,000 words? Only 100 days! That means you could write a 50,000-word book in 200 days! That’s less than two-thirds of one year! Even if you are able to write for only 15-30 minutes per day, you can get a lot of traction if you work smarter.
Keep track of your time
Another area where I usually challenge people is to keep track of how productive their time working actually is.
For some people, writing is allowed to be a part of their actual work day, but for many others, it needs to take place outside of the work day.
While this may prove a bit challenging to find time to write, it isn't impossible. In fact, many people spend a lot of time wasting time. The amount of TV, movies, sports, or a number of other things could be reigned in to provide them with some time to write.
If you have worked toward creating a doable writing schedule, it is important to make the time to plan and implement it.
Take an inventory of your current schedule, and be honest about how much time is wasted, or spent doing things that aren't having maximum impact in your life. Then, take some time to commit to some small wins that you can scale up after the habit and schedule have been implemented.
Make small goals
Actually doing something on a small scale is better than not doing anything. If you have big, idealistic goals, but do nothing to move toward meeting them, you’ve accomplished nothing. However, if you create a plan and adjust your life and schedule to be able to implement it, you are at least making progress.
Try your schedule out for a few weeks and have the liberty to adjust it as you need to. You might find that starting with a minimum goal will actually lead to greater results as opposed to creating these huge and lofty goals that make you feel like a failure.
If writing is important for you as an author, then it’s worth making the time to implement your plan so that you can take steps, even small steps, toward meeting and exceeding your writing goals.