How do you find the time to write

One of the most common questions I receive when I tell people that I just completed writing is not, “how did you come up with the story?” or “what is the story about?” No – the most common question I hear is “how did you find the time to write?”

I was fortunate enough to be given a number of weeks paid sabbatical from my day job, which I hope I was able to put to good use. As this was only a very limited period of time, I had to ensure that I maximized my daily word output every single day. I used a program called WriteWay Professional which gave me a daily quota goal and had a very nice percent complete graphic that served as my glaring task master. I also very much appreciated how this program helped me organize my notes and develop character sheets. I had tried writing more freestyle before with less successful results. I am sure there are other similar programs out there (a program called Scrivener is another option), but this one worked well for me.

I have since learned that the month of November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. If I understand the rules correctly, you can sign up at and pledge to write. Those that participate are tasked with writing 50K words in 30 days and are given access to a network of supporting groups and individuals. I did not learn of this program until November was already half over and so am not participating this year, and I’ve heard a lot of mixed feedback on the benefits of the program, but at least its format creates a nice fixed set of rules and deadlines that anyone can use.

Hopefully though I will already be finalizing my next novel which I have already started to plan out.

Not writing is not an option for me. I’ve been given a taste for it, and the stories keep coming. I have to get them out – even if only a few people see them.

So the only advice I can give others who are on the fence about jumping into the writing game is similar to preparing for any race. Set your self a goal, pace yourself, and just concentrate on putting one foot (or word) in front of the other until you reach the finish line.

8 thoughts on “How do you find the time to write

  1. For a while I kept a daily word count, but I ran into trouble with revision and study, both important to improve my writing, but not very productive for a word count. So I’ve chosen to only track the time I spend, but be fairly disciplined about it. For example, sometimes I just feel like I’m not being as productive, so I’ll count the time spent as 1/2 or 2/3, while other times, even though I’m only putting down a few words I know that I’m really putting in the effort.


    1. I drop the daily word count goal after the first draft for much the same reason. When editing I’ll switch to chapter completion % or something of that nature. To your point, I’ve found the discipline more important than the method.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. I think it’s easy to focus on the idea of one grand day of really dense work, but the reality is that the slow chipping away is often more productive in the long term.
        I often find that my best insights come to me randomly, after I’ve stopped working on writing for a time, or for the day. There’s a way that the focused effort sets the stage, but relaxing afterwards allows the answer to organically coalesce.


      2. I have found that planning a dense day of work is a sure guarantee that at least one member of my family will get sick. Or the car will break down. Or we’ll run out of something critical for the following day. Or any number of other Murphy’s Law manifestations.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, Murphy has a sick sense of humor. But as writers we do have the advantage that the tools of our craft are very portable.


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