Never Enough Time to Write — or is there?

By Donna Schlachter

It seems there is never enough time to do all the things I want to do. With seven days in a week, twenty-four hours in a day, seems like I should have lots of spare time. I don’t suppose anyone else finds the same problem? No, I didn’t think so.

My idea of a perfect week would begin with Sunday. Some awesome praise and worship, a soul-stirring message, and a couple of hours of fellowship. Not more than that. I’m an introvert, and more than two hours and I’d be exhausted. For you extroverts, party on until midnight!

On Monday, I’d like to get all those administrative things like paperwork and laundry done by 10:00 so I’d have the rest of the day to write. Doesn’t happen. Could if I got up earlier.

On Tuesday, Write. That’s the day I go to a write out from 10:00 to noon at a coffee shop with friends. No write out in your area? Start one. I did. I went to the write out for a year before anyone else joined me. No shame in that. I got a lot of writing done.

On Wednesday, carry on the flow from Tuesday and write. Sometimes that happens. Often it doesn’t. Lots of times the writing from Tuesday raised questions and I spend a lot of time researching. Or planning research trips because I discovered I didn’t know as much about something as I need so I can write about it.

On Thursday, that’s my “work” day, the day I do my “other job”. Usually a full day of listening to other people’s mistakes and problems (I proofread legal transcripts). Honestly, so many sad stories that I don’t want to think about writing.

On Fridays, that’s the day we give to our local food bank. Lots of people — so exhausting for this introvert.

Saturdays are my “free” day. I usually use Saturdays to catch up on tasks I let slip during the week. Sometimes I write, the next week I might do something around the house, like canning, or cleaning, or ironing. Remember the laundry I did Monday? Mending and ironing to be done.

My week is full. And I’m sure your weeks are full, too. But if we want to be writers, we need to make time to write. We won’t find time, but we can compress certain activities to expand our available time. We can drop some tasks from our schedule completely, or we can delay some things to allow us time to write.

Every day for the next month, I challenge you to make an extra hour a day to write. Not to think about writing, not to plot, not to research, but to write. Call me crazy, but once a year I take a leave of absence from television and spend that time writing. You can choose to go a little easier on yourself: no television until you write for at least an hour. Don’t watch television? Think of other ways to put together an extra 60 minutes a day. Like doing one less load of laundry. Or have one of the kids do the folding. Instead of reading before you go to bed, write.

Takeaway: We can live on never enough time, or we can decide to make the time to do the things that are important to us.

Exercises:

1. Go through your calendar and find those pockets of time you can divert to writing.

2. Be honest about the ways you spend your time: Pinterest, email, Facebook. Limit those activities to one time a day.

3. Be ready with a story outline and character sketches so when you sit to write, you really do write.


Donna Schlachter

Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, Capitol Christian Writers Fellowship, Christian Women Writers, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; blogs regularly for Heroes, Heroines, and History; and judges in writing contests. www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com

Find time to Write!