Forget about writing a novel—sometimes it’s difficult finding the time just to scratch out a blog post.

Years ago, when I first started taking this whole “writing” thing seriously, I read online that only five percent of novelists earn a living from their work—and that was before the self-publishing explosion. That’s right: at least 95 percent have a day job (whether we like to admit it or not). So if you’re having a difficult time finding a spare hour here and there to write, you’re not alone.

We live busy lives, and they only seem to be getting busier. So on top of everything else, where in the world can we also find time to do that thing we love?

The key to success writing, just like with anything else in life, is increasing efficiency. Here are a few easy, yet helpful tips for using your writing time wisely.

1. Don’t empty the creative well

This piece of advice comes directly from Ernest Hemingway (I felt like maybe he knew what he was talking about).

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”  – Ernest Hemingway

One of the most difficult times to write is when, simply put, you don’t have anything to write about. When you are working on an exciting project or a particular part of a manuscript that you can envision perfectly in your mind, do not write until the inspiration is gone. Leave part of that scene to come back and finish. The next time you sit down to start writing again, it will be that much easier to jump back into it.

2. Taking notes is key

If you’re anything like me, you constantly think of ideas that make you want to jot down notes. When they strike, they seem like magic that must be documented before they can flutter away. My advice is to take as many notes as possible, but make sure you keep them organized for how they can be used. If they are for completely new story ideas, file them away. If they are to be used toward your current project, make sure you understand how they can be applied and let them help you to jump back into the writing when you have a chance to sit down at your computer.

3. Create a writing schedule

This last piece of advice may seem straightforward, but it’s more difficult to do than most realize. Creating a schedule for writing can be challenging. You have a million things on your calendar, plus you have to take your car into the shop. Life’s crazy. But there’s always an excuse not to write. Creating a schedule can help you eliminate those excuses and turn them into the reason why you need to write.

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6 thoughts on “3 simple tips for writing around a busy schedule

  1. Good advice. Old Ernest was right on the money, but always leave your writing ready to write the next paragraph. That way you can sit down, write it, and that almost always gets the old engine running.

    The hardest thing I ever tried to do was write around shift work. You don’t have a schedule, so what you end up having to do is find that common ground where you aren’t working, and make that part of your writing day.

    For me, it was almost always Noon. Day shift, I’d have knocked off for lunch, and I’d spend it writing. The other shifts, I wouldn’t be working, so it worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m on the fence about emptying the writing well. Sometimes, it feels good to get it all on paper and then sit back and think, reflectively, having the whole thing written up to a certain point. And other times, having a solid “lead in” scene can be most helpful, so I think it really depends on where in the story you are and whether you need to reflect on the piece as a whole or are still in the “plugging away writing” phase.

    And I’ve nominated you for a mystery blog award. https://andrealundgren.com/2017/06/23/first-mystery-blogger-award/
    Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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