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.