How to write even when you don’t have time

Nov 22, 2022

I hear this question all the time: “How do I write if have no time?” 

I get it. Time is THAT THING that we’re always pursuing more of, always in a race against, that’s always in our face, mocking us for all the things we didn’t get to yet. I’ve been working full time and writing two books a year (and one particularly stressful year, three books) for over a decade and I’d love to say I have it down pat.

But who really has anything down pat? Probably hardly any of us, if we’re being honest. 

Time continues to be a struggle, but I’m learning to stop overthinking it. 

I read James Clear’s Atomic Habits a few months ago and one thing he said really stuck with me:

“Never miss twice. If I miss one day, I try to get back into it as quickly as possible. Missing one workout happens, but I’m not going to miss two in a row.”

 Clear  goes on to say that it’s not the one miss that derails you, it’s when the misses become consistent.

Substitute writing for workouts and you’ve got yourself a good writing habit to follow: Don’t miss more than one writing session. If you decide you’re going to write every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and you miss Monday, don’t miss Wednesday.  

I know you’re thinking—how does this help me find more time? It doesn’t. But here’s the thing. Make a big commitment to do one small thing on those days you’ve scheduled. Decide you’re going to set a timer for five minutes and write. Make a commitment to do one paragraph. Or outline one scene. Whatever makes the most sense to keep you in the work, on track, and motivated to keep going. 

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