The Nonfiction Authors Association recently sent out a request for writers around the world to answer the question: how do you carve out time for writing? Here are the replies we received.
NFAA: How do you carve out time for writing?
Sometimes it can be really hard to carve out time to write, but I think having some form of routine and a dedicated space to write in helps. I use spare moments like when I am commuting on the train in the mornings and afternoon to write down concepts, drafting paragraphs etc. I find that when I have the ideas written down during this time, it makes the process a whole lot easier when I need to write the article/ blog post.
My name is Chloe Grabham and I am a freelance food and travel writer based in Sydney. I love all things food from the farms produce grows in, to the restaurants it is served in to whipping up a meal in the kitchen.
My website is www.clovarcreative.com
I have now written 4 international best-selling books and none of these would have been possible without my writing rituals. I got these from the late Bryce Courtenay. He used these strategies before he became a fulltime author. Every day, except for Sunday, I get up an hour before my family and write for one hour. Then after everyone has gone to bed, I write for another hour each evening. So, each week, I’m writing for at least 12 hours which is plenty.
Rik Schnabel is an NLP and Life Coach Trainer and a transformational speaker, coach and author. He can be found via: www.LifeBeyondLimits.com.au
For most of my life, ‘carving out time’ hasn’t been so much an issue, because I’ve just been driven to do it. But for this year I made a conscious decision to work only 4 days per week on my job and spend 1 day per week on my writing. This has been both miraculous and difficult. Miraculous, because my clients understand and applaud the decision; difficult because there are always other things to do.
The days I set aside are Wednesdays. The first day back at work this year was a Wednesday. The night before was absolute agony: Do I work, or do I keep the office closed? I decided to keep the office closed and put my attention where my mouth is. It set the year up on a positive foot; and now that I have patrons who pay me via Patreon every month, in exchange for weekly updates, I have the most incredible incentive of all: Other people’s money.
Leticia Mooney is a serial entrepreneur and author, and is based in Adelaide, Australia. Learn more about her at http://biodagar.com/about
Living intentionally helps you manage your priorities and time to the minute. Taking time to evaluate each day will show you the best time to take for you. If this is all you do is be an author, then I suspect you may have more time to seclude yourself.
I spend every day writing down something I read that touched me and file it (literally). This technique allows you to reach content and quotes quicker when writing. The second thing I do is set an hour a day starting with an outline of the book and filling in each chapter. Number three would be determining there is an hour in your day to write. It is a choice you make. I can’t make it for you. It is a definite decision to devote this time every day for your burning desire to be fulfilled.
Learn more about Stacey here.
My name is Greg. I work as a Digital Marketing Manager and write and self-publish ebooks on Amazon.
Every day, I find the time to write during my 1-hour lunch break. It takes me 20 minutes to eat my lunch, and then I dedicate the next 40 minutes to writing.
The downside is that I can’t really have lunch with my colleagues. I must have lunch by myself to be able to write, which means I can’t socialise with the rest of the team as much as I should. Being a writer can be lonely sometimes!
Gregory Golinski, Digital Marketing Manager, https://www.yourparkingspace.co.uk/
Having been a college coach for 14 years and a student-athlete, I am an active person, so I can’t just sit down to write for 4 hours at a time or I get too restless. I do my best writing when I have taken a walk, swam, or even walked around Disney World (I live 35 minutes away) earlier in the day. I need to write late afternoon or evening as I am much more effective during that time of day. I know many authors who need to write first thing in the morning at like 5 a.m., but I am just the opposite. I plan about 2-hour time blocks to write when I am at my best in the afternoon or evening. I also try to change up my locations to write with different places such as coffee shops, co-working spaces, restaurants, libraries, and even different places in my house. My words of wisdom for authors if they are in a rut, that they change their scenery!
A seventeen year coaching veteran, Coach Renee Lopez is a certified speaker, consultant, and blogger on the college recruiting process for high school student athletes and the author of the upcoming book, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide (www.rlopezcoaching.com).
Writing content for my life insurance blogs takes a lot of time and research. I’m busy during the day handling sales so my only time to write is in the evening or weekends, when not spending time with my family. In order to still get the job done, I outsource the research and initial drafts. Then I just have to review for accuracy before hitting publish. This team approach has enabled me to be much more productive and efficient.
As researcher, teacher, and owner of Insanitek Research and Development moonlighting as an inspiring fiction writer, I’ve been working on my first book while driving to client meetings, working in the lab, or anywhere else I can talk to myself. I have two tricks that I use. I either use the speech to text feature on Google Docs to capture my thoughts to edit later. The other is to record my thoughts and pay someone to transcribe them. My favourite is the first option so I can revise my story and characters over a cup of tea and an editing session.
The way I worked on my latest book once I had mapped out the basic contents, was to capture ideas throughout the week in a Google doc. Every Friday, I’d set aside an hour to quickly put the various thoughts into a mind map, as bullet points giving them some order and flow. I’d then record a ramble pretending I was telling a friend about the concept before using an online transcription service to turn this into a new narrative-style document. Each Monday is tidy this up and add it to the growing manuscript. This steady rhythm worked for me and I found the switch between written and audio suited my conversational writing style.
This book became ‘The 1-Minute Commute’ a handbook for home-based small businesses, and is due to be published in Australia by PanMacillan on June 26thwww.robertgerrish.com
I was flying interstate a LOT in my previous career and it’s amazing how much you can write in just an hour’s plane ride. No phone calls, no colleagues interrupting, and no beeping email notifications equals laser beam focus. Using a simple app like Evernote means you can transfer your notes between devices easily and effortlessly. You wouldn’t believe how much of Outsmart Sugar was written on my phone!
Tara Mitchell – author, entrepreneur, speaker and NLP educator
Structure, time and certain rituals work for me. I have to organise myself so that I’m at my desk and ready to get going as close as possible to the same time every day. That’s after I’ve done a walk, swim or gym class to help my concentration and make me feel better about my levels of confidence and stamina. I’m also a bit of a control freak – tidy desk, neatly labelled files on desk, diary itemising what I need to do each day with details on when, where, who with and their contact numbers. I avoid all distractions within certain time frames (I’m officially ‘out’ to everything and everyone). I try to avoid avoidance behaviour (fridge door opening and closing, getting out the Wettex and wiping down the bench top, that one quick, tiny phone call that tur ns into a marathon chat session).
I usually try to do the easy or the mechanical things first, things that don’t take too much thinking about to get my focus going. But, of course, all the best laid plans can go completely awry. That’s when I know that carving out time for writing is never going to be 100% bullet proof. Sometimes I have no choice but to cut loose, go with what is happening, not beat myself up when life calls and hey! It’s a nice day for the beach and life is short and so am I.
Berwyn Lewis is an Author, journalist, features writer and scriptwriter.
Website – http://www.berwynlewis.com/
The most effective thing I do to carve out time for writing for myself (as opposed to writing for my corporate clients) is to participate in a writer’s roundtable. Twice a week I meet other writers at a coffee shop, and we talk about what we have achieved recently, and any problems we’re having (we brainstorm together as required to help each other move forward). After that, we spend time working on our own writing, and then set goals for the coming week. This has been making a big difference to my results, as it means I don’t put everyone else’s work first – I start and end the work week focused on my own writing. I’m much more productive as a result.
Kellie Byrnes is an author, freelance writer, blogger and reviewer. She released her debut picture book this month (Cloud Conductor – fiction) and have a second book coming out next year. She’s also working on multiple non-fiction manuscripts at the moment. She has a BA degree in Literature and released her first book in May 2018. Website: http://www.KellieByrnes.com
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