No Such Thing as No Time to Write

by limebirdkate

Brace yourselves. I’m about to jump onto my soapbox here.

I’m friends with a writer who dared to compare her busy life to mine. She recently went on a tear about how it’s obvious I am not as busy as she is because I write daily.

She made things worse for herself by saying that she doesn’t have time to write because she has a job. I was about to remind her that I have kids (as well as freelance jobs), she interrupted me and said, “but kids don’t require attention all the time, unlike my job.” Plus, she added…”You blog! You tweet! You’re on FB and LinkedIn!”

I decided arguing with such inflammatory comments wasn’t worth it. (So I’ll blog about it instead! Haha.)

The fact is, a busy life is relative. We are as busy as we think we are. No one is busier than anyone else, and to wallow in self-pity over how busy you are is only wasting more of the time you say you don’t have.

Now, granted, I don’t know every single person’s situation, so I might be stirring up a hornet’s nest by continuing with this.

Oh well. I’m stirring anyway.

I recently posted on my personal blog about my friend, Kady. (Kady is embarking on a personal challenge of NaNoWriMo next month. She is the perfect example of no such thing as no time to write.)

Finding time to write first takes dedication. You have to want to write. You have to want to write more than anything else. More than anything else.

Second, you have to make a conscientious decision that you will put writing in your daily must-do list along with eating, sleeping, showering, going to work, and brushing your teeth. If you allow yourself an out, you’re likely to take the out.

Third, decide on a block of time that’s suitable for writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s fifteen minutes or a few hours, one chunk or spread out over the whole day. Just set aside that block for writing and nothing else.

Up next: well, write, of course. Just do it. Do it every day, same time every day. You’re more likely to develop a habit if you write at the same time every day.

Plenty of people—writers and non—think I’m insane and/or amazing because I get up at 4am to write.  I don’t write at 4am because I love to get up that early (although I will admit it’s grown on me). I write at that time because I am 99% guaranteed I won’t be interrupted.

I am sure my average day is no busier than anyone else’s. I am able to fit in the writing because I build my day around my writing. I found a two-hour block that can’t be hijacked by anything else. That’s key for me. If I tried to do my writing at 1pm I can be sure something would constantly interrupt it. I decided I don’t want my writing time to be akin to a sitting duck. Yes, it means that I don’t get as much sleep as I probably should. But for me, that was the only one of my life’s demands I was willing to sacrifice.

Cutting back on sleep might not be an option for you, so try something else. For a few weeks, track your days hour-by-hour to see exactly how you spend your time. You will find there are clumps of time that you can devote to writing. With a little bit of shifting, curtailing, and obliterating, writing can become part of your daily must-do list.

For those of you out there who are writing regularly, how do you find the time?


83 Responses to “No Such Thing as No Time to Write”

  1. Oh I’m so with you! I get irritated when people talk about not having time for things – nobody has unlimited time to do whatever they want, but we can all make a bit of time available for things that we really want to do. Firstly I would say, in a non-moaning way, that people who don’t have kids don’t really have a concept of what it means to be busy and have no time to yourself (of course there are exceptions before anyone shoots me down, but in general). Again, I’m not complaining, but I have a full-time job, I’m a single parent of two children, I don’t have any staff to do the housework/shopping etc, but I still manage to fit in doing some bits of acting and film producing, I write a monthly article for a magazine, I blog (not very often, granted), I tweet, I Facebook, I’ve started work on writing a book. Even though my children are not that little any more (aged 13 and 10), I still spend about 90% of my waking time at home doing things with them or for them, and that’s probably a conservative estimate because even the other 10% is interrupted with questions and requests from them. So recently, when my single, childless, friend who just has the one day job and no freelancing said “Oh you do Facebook do you? I don’t have time myself”, I really had to bite my tongue. Don’t get me wrong, I love having kids and I am happy with having a full and busy life, but I’m just pointing out that if I can make time to fit other things in, then so can others.

    Sorry, I got a bit carried away there, I forgot I was just commenting on your blog and not writing my own! Hehe. To answer your question about finding the time for writing, I’m not as organised as you in terms of a set time. I just grab bits of time when I can. I always have a notebook with me to jot down ideas as they come to me. I use my lunch hours at work (like right now!). And I usually do a bit in bed on the laptop at the beginning and end of the day. It’s all a bit ad hoc really, but it seems to work for me.

    • Hi Vanessa! Oh, I love your response; I’m so glad you got a chance to talk about it. I know that you aren’t complaining about kids and what have you–I think you recognize your limitations because of your situation. Then, you have found a way to adjust and make it work the best you can. That’s really all we can hope for sometimes.

      Good for you for making sure you fit in what’s important to you. You might be crazy-busy in the short-term, but you won’t be regretful in the long run.

      Your friend and my friend ought to get together for tea–if they can find the time. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Plus, to your writing friend: why spend all that energy complaining? I can write any time of the day, but feel best if I write early, because then I get to live the rest of the daylight hours guilt free. But wait, it’s 5:29 a.m. and I should be over in my writing chair, writing !!!

    • Hi Clare,

      Exactly! Complaining and moaning and groaning takes up soooo much energy. I get tired just listening to people who do nothing but complain rather than taking a proactive step in turning things around. Thing is–no one else is going to find the time for her to write, she has to find it herself if she wants it bad enough.

      I’m the same way–I can write any time of the day as long as I’m uninterrupted but early AM is the awesome-est!

      Thanks for chiming in.

  3. I’m not logged in and lazy to. I wrote a post very similar to this, now I don’t wanna post it!

    Anyway, I write whenever I can. Normal writing times used to happed after 9pm. I’d stay up till about 11 or 12 doing it.

    I’d complain about it, but at least I knew I have the time to. Then I got an 8am class. My typically write time got pushed back to about 7 or 8. Sometimes getting on the computer at that time is hard so I handwrite something.

    It also happens around 11-noon now. Those are my typical writing blocks. I don’t have nearly as many responsibilities as some people. Some days are more productive than others anyway.

    Even if it’s not on your novel I firmly believe you should write something every day.

  4. @ Kate and Vanessa – I relate to both of you. I believe people do their best to make time for what is truly important to them. Some are more successful at doing this than others. Maybe your friends are just envious of your abilities and accomplishments; and can’t quite figure out how to make that happen for themselves. Writing is something I love to do. But, I do not have a scheduled time for it each day. Like Vanessa, I keep several notebooks handy to jot ideas in when I’m not able to be at my desktop or laptop. Also, there days I don’t write. I am okay with that, too.

    • Hi Kate!

      Me too. A lot of what drives me is knowing that it’s difficult. Then I know it’s a big deal and I need to figure out how to do it. I’m always so thankful when I think about how much writing I accomplish each day. If it were too easy to have time to write I wonder if I’d feel the same way at the end of the day.

      That’s great that you’re okay with non-writing days. I’m not that “mature.” 🙂 In fact, I get very P.O.d when my writing time gets interrupted. Usually my husband is the culprit, and I’ll yell, “all I ask is for 2 hours of writing! Is that really too much? Do you really want me this nasty ALL DAY?”

      That usually scares him off 🙂

  5. Ooh I am with you there! My husband is the one that winds me up most, because he thinks my writing is a hobby around being a mother and housewife. He is so wrong! My typical writing time is usually after 8pm until around midnight. By this time my daughter is in bed and my husband leaves me to my own devices while he watches TV or does his own work. I also try and spend 2-4 hours a day networking, promoting and blogging, which obviously involves Facebook and Twitter, among a host of other websites. Being an indie writer is a full-time job on its own. I am in awe of you people who can do that, run a family and do a separate job.

    • Hi Spooky,

      Haha–I have hubby issues too (see above comment). It’s good that you are able to get some time in though, and I know what you mean about networking. That is a job unto itself, isn’t it? I also don’t know how people can raise kids when they’re working a full-time job out of the house. Then to think if they’re writing or being creative in any way? Unreal. My hat is off to them too.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  6. I love this post and the comments. I started writing when my youngest was about 3 and fit it in when she went to kindergarten. Now I am lucky that I am at home with the three kids at school (note: I am looking for paid work and trying to build up a freelance career) I have dedicated three days 10 – 2pm to write. I also make a point of wrting everyday where I can squeeze it in. I feel very fortunate to have this time and if I don’t write I am miserable and my whole family suffers. Those weeks where I can’t write during the day (yes, hard for single / kidless people to believe but I am incredibly busy) I’ll sacrafice sleep. Housework is always an easy sacrafice. My house may not be clean but if I’m happy, the house is just a better place to be.

    • Hi Janet,

      Middle of the day writing feels so good, doesn’t it? I guess because it has the aura of not being squeezed in around things. The few opportunities that I have a whole day to myself are so wonderful, and I don’t feel as pressured to get a word count in or to meet my goal. I am relaxed and I see my writing style is a little different then, too.

      Well, I sacrifice sleep too, so I know what that is like. Really no worse than having a baby in the house all over again.

      Yup, housework-shmousework. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting.

  7. Good post! Your poor friend–she’s clueless. We make time for the things that are important to us. We just do. And I can’t help but feel a little bit of condescension in her attitude towards you, especially in regards to the amount of time it takes to care for kids properly. And I also have a bit of “sucks to be you” towards this friend. Either *poop* or get off the pot. Just my 2 cents. 😉

    • Hi Jeannie,

      Haha. I love your sense of humor. You’re right, something like this has to be taken lightly because she made a lot of assumptions without thinking it through. She probably doesn’t have the time because she has chosen that route. But to take it out on me because I’m able to figure out how to do it in my life is asinine. I feel bad for her because she is a great writer, but lets other things take up her time. Maybe that’s part of the problem, actually–maybe she just doesn’t have enough confidence in her writing to think it matters enough to take precedence over something else.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  8. Sorry, but there ARE things that keep you from writing, no matter how frustrated you feel because of them. Taking care of two invalids – an elderly mother and an elderly friend – while holding down a fulltime job can do it. I know from experience. And don’t tell me – why didn’t you stick ’em in a nursing home? That is no option! We do what we have to do – what duty demands. Writing is a solitary occupation. Living with a person who demands constant attention and who gets you up every hour during the night isn’t conducive to creativity. I’m alone now and I’m back to the writing, and I’m not sorry. But just don’t criticize people too much when they say they don’t have time to write unless you’re totally familiar with their situation.

    • Hi Lorinda,

      I’m sorry if I upset you.

      It sounds like you have had some challenges recently, and I applaud you for foregoing your personal dream and helping someone else who needed it. I think in some ways, that choice is just as fulfilling as the choice to write.

      I have an elderly mother who I take care of every morning after I drop the kids at school. She lives on her own, but she’s not 100% independent. A nursing home is not an option in this case, either. One day she will not be able to live on her own. I know then that some things in my life will have to adjust. Perhaps writing time will be affected; perhaps not.

      This is one of the reasons I am so grateful for each day that I have to write. I know first-hand how easily it can be taken away. I am sure you have been missing your writing. I’m glad you’re able to get back to it now.

      Good luck with everything, and thank you for your comment.

  9. Thanks for this post, Kate. I needed the kick in the … er, the motivational words today!

  10. Having a writing schedule seems to be the solution for me. I get up at 5:00, make some tea and write for at least an hour. Sometimes, I write longer, but I get it done first thing. This works for me because I’m a morning person and because I’m the only one in my household who is up at that hour. It’s always quiet with no distractions other than the cat who wants to go out. I agree with you then, that there is always time to write. The other thing I do is carry an HP mini computer in my purse that I can pull out wherever I am, whenever the mood strikes–if I’m on the road traveling or waiting to have coffee with a friend. I love to write, so it’s easy to make time for it. p.s. Am glad I found Limebird Writers. You guys rock!!

    • Hi Jan,

      Yes, sounds like a schedule that I’m on–quiet mornings rock! Oh, I like your idea of the HP mini computer…I should think about that. I work on a laptop, which I lug around with me on days where I know I’ll have some downtime, but a mini sounds like such a treat!

      PS–Limebird Writers is glad you found us! You rock, too!

  11. You need to give yourself permission to think of yourself as a writer if you’re going to find the time – Don’t put it off (like I did) – thinking that’s something other people do.

    • When reading the comments it was this last one that hit me between the eyes. I’m a retired Englishman living in Arizona blissfully happy with Jean, born within 23 miles of me in London! For most of my life, I have been a business salesman and then an entrepreneur. Started writing in 2009 and haven’t looked back. BUT, I STILL HAVE TROUBLE DESCRIBING MYSELF AS A WRITER! Jeannie, quite naturally, introduces me as a writer, when relevant. If she can do it so easily, why can’t I?

      Indeed, I suspect that the question raised by Kate has its roots in much deeper waters: self-identity, self-worth and, undoubtedly, a number of other ‘self-?’s’

      • Hi Paul,

        Me too! That comment, so simply put, says it all. We need to identify ourselves as writers in order to make those tought decisions that might irk someone else.

        And yes, Paul, if you need another person to describe you as a writer, I will sign up! 🙂

    • Well said, unpub. I think you hit the nail on the head. As long as we tell ourselves this is what we do, this is who we are, then *snap* we’ll tend to it regularly, without fail, without guilt.

      Thanks for a smart comment.

  12. Yes yes yes! I hate the “I’m busier than you” argument in general, and it really irks me when it comes to writing. We’re ALL busy, whether we have kids or full-time jobs or dogs or laundry or parents or bathrooms that need cleaning or blogs. Part of writing is commitment. That’s part of every activity worth doing.

    • Hi Annie,

      True, oh true. If I was a stickler over housecleaning, I could spend hours upon hours just doing housework. If I want Christmas to be a big deal, I will devote all my free time decorating, cooking, gift-wrapping. Any activity, hobby, interest, dream will take up as much time as you’re willing to give it. So we have to figure out our priorities and stick it in somewhere.

      Thanks for commenting!

  13. My lunch hour is the perfect time for me. It forces me to get out of my chair. I go to the lunch room away from my work computer and phone and find a nice quiet corner to fire up my laptop. I usually get 30 to 45 minutes of writing time.

    • Hi Dennis,

      Lunch breaks are delicious in two ways for you! That sounds awesome, and I think you’re lucky to have that guaranteed time. Keep it up!

  14. I have to agree with you a hundred and fifty percent! The only thing that didn’t personally work for me – and i really thought that it would – was writing at the same time. Instead – I found the days/times where I could dedicate chunks of time to writing, announce to the family it was off-limits, and dove in.
    To give some perspective on my situation, I have a hubby, 5th grader, and a 40-50 hour per week job with a long commute. I also have two daughters outside of the home, and 3 1/2 granchildren. I have dedicated family times (movies, going out, etc.) and do the weekly shopping. Since August I have begun 2 blogs (one is mine, the other my pseudonym). They both have twitter and fb accounts that I keep up with. I’m also a member of Triberr. I have self-published 4 stories on Amazon that range between 5,000 – 15,000 words each. I completed 26,000 words of a novel during NaNoWriMo. I am publishing a 5th story today on Amazon that is a little over 13,000 words. I signed a publishing contract in November for an 18,000 word story that will be part of an anthology. I began a new story for another publishing company two nights ago, and I’m 1,500 words in to that.
    I am not amazing. I feel I have a tendency to laziness that’s always been an achilles heel. I wish I had adopted this attitude YEARS ago, instead of making excuses as I always did, and wasting valuable years when I honestly did have the time. But that was then, and this is now, and now I really, really, really, really want to write. Really. And it’s obvious you do too 😉

  15. Ooo, I don’t know…

    …Actually I’ve just deleted what I was typing about my long stressful workday and commute when I return to work from maternity leave and barely seeing my daughter because even with that I could conceivably give myself 15 minutes to write either at the start or the end of the day.

    I was on your friend’s side, but thinking it through I agree with your main point that it’s counter-productive to make the “I’m busier than you” argument (or its spoilt sibling – “you have more than me”). I want to be a writer so it’s down to me to fit that into the life I have and make it happen. Comparing my circumstances unfavourably to other people’s is just going to create bitterness and mean that I don’t value what I have; and too many people in this world are so focused on wanting more that they forget to recognise how lucky they are. Of course I’m human and sometimes stamp my foot and say it’s not fair, but thank you so much for reminding me how utterly ungrateful and unproductive that is!

    • Hi Sally,

      I appreciate your ambivilance. I’m sure you understand that I feel very strongly about this issue. I have had to overcome some personal setbacks (which I felt were far too personal to blog here) in order to write every day. This is not a frivolous opinion by any means. I believe what I said because of my own background, my own experiences, my own obstacles.

      I know what you are up against, Sally, and I have been there. It is extremely frustrating to want to tend to your writing but other things must come first. All I can say is that, in my experience, it can be done. Only you can figure out how to make it happen for you.

      The other bit that I didn’t bring up in the post, which I may as well, is that my friend has a choice. On top of being an associate professor at a local university, she is also a musician. Her husband is a musician. They circulate on a regular basis with other musicians, often visiting each other’s performances to lend support and a following.

      In addition to that, she has summers off. She takes at least one vacation a year to visit family and friends. She has no kids, no one else to take care of.

      If we think that being a writer takes a huge commitment, then so does being a musician. Of course she has limited time, but she also has choices.

      I definitely take issue with my friend’s griping because I know what else she does in her day-to-day life. I can’t say the same for everyone out there, but I am hard-pressed to believe that it’s impossible if you want it bad enough.

  16. Hello Kate, fabulous blog, as per.

    I think I agree and disagree with this. Everyone’s circumstances are completely different, including things like physical and mental health, commitments to dependants, work and generally, having a life. I think if someone is completely see-through and their life is definitely not as congested as others who manage to find a space each day to write, then fair enough and I agree there.

    I think people who genuinely are rushed off their feet, or have health reasons as to why it’s not always easy to find time to write may feel a bit guilt-tripped. I mean, as I know that people who suffer from depression and have empty days with nothing to do will still find it absolutely insummountable to even turn on the computer. Everything is of course relative to each circumstance which I think is my point.

    There is of course writers who choose to abstain. They have hectic lives and need to wait for a period in their lives where they genuinely have the time to think without being tired, stressed or frustrated by lifes many obstacles. It doesn’t make them lazy or filled with excuses, it’s simply the way they operate which is perfectly fine too.

    I know what you mean when people say that they are just too busy and in comparison to your life they seriously aren’t. As we say where I’m from ‘some people don’t know they’re born’. I get seriously hacked off when my family and I get fobbed off by others who can find the time to go clubbing and socialising with their mates, but struggle to find a minute for us. I just think that they are rather lucky – they have no idea how hellish and stressful life can be!

    Sometimes it’s a fantastic idea to take a step back from your writing and attack it after a few days – even weeks later. Sometimes going back to your work after a good break can do you the world of good. I do that and honestly, I reread stuff I was all fired up about and then go ‘what in the name of all that’s great and good did I do that to that character for?!’

    Swings and roundabouts.

    I guess the bigger message I am wanting to convey is simply – do whatever you need to do to write. Moan, shout and rage. I’m often too busy to write, yet my life will not compare to others who still find time to write. Doesn’t make me a bad writer or them better than me. It just makes us different is all.

    Just as long as you get there in the end, does it matter how you got there? I reckon everyone is right 🙂

    LimebirdCat x

    • Hi Cat,

      Yes, absolutely, we’re all different and have different ways of being busy. Like I said in the post, it’s all relative. I am no busier than anyone else, but I know if I didn’t make the decision to write during a set block of time, something else would fill it up. It’s not like that 2-hour block would sit there, empty with nothing happening. I’d be busy doing something! I just choose to make it writing.

      What irks me more than anything is when people compare themselves to other people, like it’s a competition or something. I think that’s ridiculous. To me, it’s just another excuse that people use to say why they’re not writing when probably the real problem is that they just don’t know if they really want to be bothered.

      Oh yes, I love taking time off from my WIP and then coming back to it later. I always see it differently and that helps me to know where to take it next.

      I agree with your bigger message. Exactly. Do what you need to do to write.

      Thanks for commenting!

  17. Hi Wren!

    Wow, congratulations are in order for you–not only for what you’re about to accomplish but what you’ve done for yourself to get to this magnificent place. You did all of that, and even if it took you a long time to get it through your head that this is what you want, it is something to be proud of!! (whoa, long sentence)

    I think for me it was suddenly looking at my life and realizing I could either keep going with no writing, or keep going with writing. It was just one of those things that went “click” in my brain. I knew I was the only one who was going to make me write, so I better figure it out.

    I’m really happy for you, Wren!

    • Yes Kate – I think that was it for me too – that epiphany that I needed to just get on with it already. Or not. It’s a choice, definitely much harder and limited in some cases than others. I think you deserve congratulations too for coming to that place in your life – hooray!

      • Aww, thanks Wren. It still is a challenge to stay in this “place” but as you put it so perfectly-I just really, really, really, really want to write. Really. 😉

  18. Interesting. I do empathize with your friend – sometimes a good whine is in order, just to get it out of the system (who doesn’t have those days occasionally). That’s not to say I don’t agree, to an extent.

    It is all a mater of priorities. Personally, I’m surprised by how many days I crawl into bed and go, “I think I forgot to shower today.” (before you get grossed out, I have really dry skin, so I don’t get gross in 24 hours – I’ll shower first thing in the morning when that happens!)

    It is a matter of setting aside those 15 minutes. Of course, you can’t do that for everything, and that’s the prioritization bit.

    That said, I used to think I was busy, and then I had kids and worked. Then I stopped working and was, somehow, even busier (there was more stuff to do in the house because the kids were in it all day!).

    The hard part that those without children do not understand is that – at least when they are young – you might not be ABLE to schedule something. Sure, you plan on writing during the afternoon nap, but then the nap doesn’t happen, or you have to go to the pediatrician or something. It’s maddening when everything is peaceful and you sit down to do something, only to be interrupted 14.6 seconds into it. Worse is when you decide not to bother (because you know they’ll need you in a minute), and 2 hours later, they are still blissfully amusing themselves and you’ve just watched.

    Right now I’m having trouble balancing my blog writing (which is helping my writing overall) and getting work done on my novel. I’m tempted to get up early to work on it, but the little one still wakes most nights and we’re still sleep deprived (I can’t go without it, I don’t function.). Also, she almost always wakes between 4:30 and 6, so I’d be interrupted at least once anyway. The time will come though…

    Now that I’ve gone on my little ramble – it can’t be that hard to find time because when I get involved in a book, I manage to devour it in no time. I just worry a riot would break out in my house and I’d be oblivious…

    • Hi Shannon,

      Yes, whine she did! Haha. No, seriously, I don’t have an issue with the complaint in and of itself but when I’m used as an example then I get a little fiesty!

      Right, having to deal with different aspects of writing can get tricky. Oftentimes I’ll go through a day and think I blogged more than I worked on my novel. That’s tough to accept sometimes because the whole point of me doing any of this is to write stories. Yes, I want to be published and I am aware that means I have to network–but when it outweighs the work on the book? Hard to accept.

      We all make priorities, either consciously or not, so I fully believe that writing can be in the top 5 if we choose it to be. But it’s give and take for sure. We make writing a priority, something has to go. And that can be super tough to figure out.

      Thanks for commenting!

  19. I write twice a week, in the evenings, about 8 till whenever. It fits at the moment, but maybe that will change as time goes on. I do agree that to be a writer you need to write, as often as possible. I keep a notebook with me, to write down ideas and lines that I like. then my formal “I’m writing” time is writing up my notes or blogging or just writing. Whatever feels good. The notebook is however the indispensable item of my daily toolkit, it means I can write everyday, whenever I have a moment or an idea to write down.


    • Heya!

      That sounds good, it also sounds like you’re prepared to accept a change in schedule. That can be hard sometimes, especially those of us who are creatures of habit.

      I also like how you keep it really chill. “I’m writing” can be anything that feels good to you–that’s awesome. I need to be a little more relaxed in that arena I think. Sometimes I get so worked up over my WIP that if I don’t make enough headway on it I get really ticked off!

      Thanks for chiming in!

  20. I’m still figuring out when I write best, although it’s usually in those “moments of inspiration.” I know we have to rise above writing only when inspired, but I’m letting business (aka distractions, aka procrastination, aka whining) get the better of me. I don’t know that I’m ready for 4AM, But I need something. Thanks for the words. I’m looking forward to reading LImeBird stuff.

    • Hi Ryan!

      As long as you’re taking advantage of your moments of inspiration, then I think you’re doing great. Sometimes that’s all we have and you are making the most of it.

      Only the toughest, slyest, craziest people can handle 4am! 😉 Maybe one day you’ll be ready! 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, and happy to know you’re enjoying Limebird!

  21. You make time for the things you like best. If you love to write and it is your #1 priority you will make time for it. Otherwise you couldn’t want to do it that much. I wrote 5 books in 6 years and now am taking a year off to research for my next one and take a break.

    • Hi Dorothy,

      I do agree whole-heartedly. And it’s true, especially with how challenging writing can be, what a commitment it requires of your body, mind, and soul–you have to love it enough to do it regularly.

      Congratulations on your wonderful accomplishments. 5 books and one on the way. That is awesome.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  22. As you stand on that soapbox, I applaud you. I think that people sometimes spend their time without being mindful that it is limited. I’ve met a number of people in my life that I suspected were using it as an excuse for why they didn’t write, so that they didn’t have to face the real reason. I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past. I just refuse to let myself do that anymore. I’ve pared down what I spend my time on that is neither writing nor day-job related, and it really freed up a lot of time. Now I just feel like I have two full-time jobs. Oh well, at least I enjoy the night-job 😀

    • Hi Julie,

      I suspect the same thing–that it is an excuse. After all, writing can be a very intimidating, scary feat and it is easy to feel incapable of doing it. So, for a lot of people, saying they don’t have the time, is a good way out of it.

      Haha, yes, it is a job in itself (paid or not) and you have to be passionate if you’re going to tend to it daily. I’m glad that you are able to do it as regularly as you want.

      Thanks for commenting!

  23. As Stephen King says, you put yourself in a room, you shut the door and you write at the same time every day. If Stephen King says it, then it must be true!

  24. I can attest to there is no such thing as no time to write. There is time for it if you want to. In November, I signed up for NaNoWriMo to write for my first time ever. I was working full time and in school and I’d hardly ever written anything a day before that. On day TWO my boyfriend committed to a paper route that would require both of us for at least the first three weeks, so during that time I worked 40+ hours on one job, about 30 hrs on the paper route and had my two classes in school, spent a couple of hours each week on the phone w/ my kids AND wrote 10k words…again, never having written anything ever before.

    Now, I’m taking three classes, as opposed to the two from last semester, and while we no longer have the paper route, I will give you an idea of my schedule. In the past 7 days:

    I have read about 60-70 pages for class, plus took a test for my online class which took about an hour, wrote a three page paper, finished a children’s book (almost completely re-wrote it that week) and turned it in for critique and wrote three blog posts. I also started a writing group on facebook and put together a website for us, and attempted one for myself…All the website stuffs took about three hours because I am a complete novice and was oblivious to terminologies or how to work cpanel….and because I could not understand why my personal page wouldn’t work. Apparently it hadn’t propagated yet, so I intend to finish that one this weekend. I alsp spent about 3-6 hrs per week on the phone w/ my kids.

    You get my point. busybusybusy….I also have 12 pets at the moment and a wonderful boyfriend who misses me, so I’m going to go snuggle with him for a bit. Thanks for the post, Limebirdkate!!

    Now if I could just find time to exercise… LOL! JK…sortof….

    • I forgot to mention I also read about 40 blog posts…

    • Hey Raven,

      You are speaking my language. Crazy-insane days that seem too chock-full to get anything accomplished, so how could anyone possibly try to fit writing into that?

      Because you love it and you want it bad enough. I believe that whole-heartedly, and I can see that writing is huge to you, too. Sometimes it is when it seems impossible that we know we’re supposed to do it. I think it really is as basic as that.

  25. I totally agree with you on blocking out time. The last few months have been crazy with travel, moving house etc. so I neglected my writing.

    Until recently I lived alone (my partner and stepson in another city) so Monday to Thursday I could write, undisturbed, in the evenings. Now we are all living together, which, don’t get me wrong, is great; but it is harder to get alone time…

    However, from the end of February I’ll be working from home (at least for a while) and I’m going to take a leaf out of your book. I normally get up at 5am to leave the house at 6.15am. Working from home I am going to still get up early but concentrate on my own writing until the official start time of 8am.

    The other thing that I do is grab any spare moment to block out ideas, note down observations of people and places etc. I do this on my phone and then email them immediately to myself, all with the same subject line. This means that I can pull stuff into my various projects when I am at my laptop.

    On the “I’m a writer” front I totally agree! Somehow, it seems more acceptable for someone to say, for example, that they’re an artist even if they have never sold a piece of their work. More people can buy into the penniless artist in their garret idea. But, with writing, there seems to be more of the “oh, a nice hobby” response. Maybe it’s because everyone feels that they can write and so they only consider published/famous writers as such; but many people look at artists and say “there’s no way that I could paint”… People only really took me seriously when I had a book published (even if it was self-published). Perhaps things are changing… or perhaps, now that it is so easy to self-publish, people will still only consider one as a real writer when scads of books have been shipped. Either way, rich or poor, famous or not, I’m still a writer!

    • Hi Dennis,

      I’m glad to hear that you are making some choices to get you writing more often. You are adjusting to a new routine, new schedule and that can definitely throw us off. Looking ahead to the forthcoming chages in your life is a great idea, and I know that you will follow through.

      Emailing your ideas is brilliant–because you have them in one place and easy to access.

      Yes, calling ourselves “writers” doesn’t always get the response we deserve for whatever inane reason. But you have to believe you’re a writer first, before you are willing to risk upsetting the balance–at least, that’s my experience.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  26. I am very sorry for butting in on this thread, but it looks like the limebird forum is down, and I promised I would have Beth and Aaron’s handwriting analysis up today. It is up on my blog, but I can’t post the link to it on the forums because they’re down. So here it is:…aaron-and-beth/

    And I’m doing handwriting analysis all week, so if anybody here wants one, stop on by.

    Okay, ON TOPIC:

    Maybe my perspective’s different because I don’t write professionally (though I have published a few things). I write whenever I’m compelled to. I don’t really have a schedule and I don’t think I could stick to one. But I wouldn’t recommend this method.

    Kate’s friend reminds me of so many people who used to stop by my open studio and say “I wish I could do that”. I would then explain to them that they probably could do that, if they were willing to spend the years it takes to learn techniques and develop the skills. But they didn’t really want that. What they wanted was some kind of fairy godmother to appear, wave a magic wand, and grant them the power to create art without having to sacrifice any time or effort.

    I don’t really know what to say to people like that.

    • Hi M.K.,

      That’s so true! I think non-writers don’t appreciate the amount of time it takes to learn how to be a writer. I feel pretty strongly that just because people “write” doesn’t necessarily make them writers if they aren’t willing to go to school, take workshops, improve their work, etc. It’s not easy to write, I don’t think. It took me years to write a great draft for my novel. Granted, there are some born with “the gift” and can whip out a sculpture, or a painting, or poetry without even blinking. But for the rest of us humans 🙂 we have to work, and work hard, before we get it right. That means a lot of sacrifice, risk-taking, patience, strength, perseverence–I could go on.

      Thanks for an insightful comment.

  27. Oh! And I forgot: Blogging and tweeting IS a job, thank you very much. People get paid to do both. And even those of us who don’t get paid know that cultivating a web presence is WORK.

    • Haha–I’m happy you think so too! I often spend a couple of hours networking, which is all in the name of building relationships, getting exposure, and learning more ways to be a better writer.

      Just because we don’t get paid for it doesn’t mean it isn’t work. What’s motherhood? 🙂

      Thanks again!

  28. One more comment and I promise I’ll shut up.

    Dennis, you might think we artists have it comparatively easy, but we get just as many people who think what we do is frivolous. People honestly don’t think being an artist is a real job, they think it’s about as challenging as a day at the beach.

    As for selling work = being professional, Van Gogh only sold two paintings in his life.

    • Wow–I didn’t know that about Van Gogh. That’s too bad. I love his stuff, and it is interesting how the work of some people seems to catch on after they die.

      Unfortunately, artists (writers are included in this) of all venues do get a bad rap in terms of what we do. It seems we’re only respected for our work if we get paid for it and that always ticks me off.

    • Oh I totally agree with you MK! I was only pointing out that, in my experience, a lot of people can see the work it takes to be an artist (and as someone who also paints I know how hard I have to work to produce something that I’m happy with). Also my stepson is an artist (with far more natural flair than me) he paints because it makes him happy to paint. Currently he is considering training as an art teacher… I’m sure you could give plenty of stories of people who think that what you do is easy.

      On the “professional” point, again, I agree. It makes me think about the authors who sell truckloads of books because they are famous in some other sphere and have employed a ghost to write. The book may be brilliant, but one could hardly call the named author a professional writer. What I was getting at was the perception that if you aren’t selling whatever you are creating then you aren’t professional. When does someone actually become professional? When you’ve made a sale? When you can live frugally on what your art brings in? When you are famous? I know of plenty of writers, many famous in a genre, who also have ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills. The other year on StarShipSofa we collected money to help Spider Robinson with medical bills, this is an author that has written at least 26 novels and has 7 or more short story collections. He has won three Hugos, a Nebula, a Campbell and a Heinlein, and he needed help with medical bills!

  29. Hey, The Dark Globe February Shoot Off! Photograph Competition has Officially Begun, For More Info Head Here


  30. Hi Kate,

    Completely thought that I had written on this, but obviously I hadn’t! Great blog here and I’m excited to see that there are so many different viewpoints here.

    I do agree that there’s no such thing as no time to write. Even if you are the busiest person known to man, I’m sure you still have 15 minutes spare to write. If you want to write, you WILL write. Of course everyone’s situations are different, but I agree that having kids is a full time job.

    You will make time if you want to do something, even for example if you combine it with another activity. Surely those who protest that they don’t have time will eat at some point? Why not get out your notebook and jot some things down, or even type on your laptop? If you get the bus or train to work, you could do the same. Or, if you’re really short for time, you could even take a notebook into the loo with you! (You may laugh, but it’s time you could spend writing if there really isn’t another option.)

    I find the ‘one up’ mentality very frustrating. We all have things in our lives that are stressful and difficult, but if you love something, you will make time.

    Good job love. Enjoyed reading it.

    • Hey B,

      I love that idea–taking your writing into the loo with you. Know what? I have locked myself in the bathroom before, just to get some writing accomplished because it is the only door in the house that locks! Haha. Actually, that was when the kids were littler and didn’t know how to read Mommy’s “Shh, Writing Time” sign.

      Yes. I do have a sign like that. I guess I’ll do whatever it takes to write!

      Good way to put it– the “one up mentality”. It’s true, when people compare themselves to others, why bother? Even if she is crazy-insane busy now, it isn’t always going to be like that. I guess I just feel that people have choices and we have to really think hard about what is it we REALLY want in life.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  31. On the “one up” attitude – yes it’s a problem but look at it this way. For her to feel she needs to slight you, it means that she is threatened by something. Perhaps she recognizes that she doesn’t have your dedication to writing. Some people can only feel better about themselves by making others seem smaller.
    On the other hand maybe she really is feeling overwhelmed, I guess not everyone can maintain the same level of creative output. I can go full speed for weeks at a time, but eventually I will burn out and have to take a break for a while. She might be personally spreading herself too thin by trying to work, do the music And write.

    As for the faux complaints, if you have time to write or complain that you don’t have time to write, you just wasted some writing time! Great post! 🙂

    • Hiya Neeks,

      Yes, I think you’re right about her situation. And it is too bad that it gets to the point where, instead of taking the bull by the horns, she wallows and complains and stomps her feet. Bottom line that she needs to realize is that the only person who can shift her schedule around to fit in writing is her. Complaining won’t do it. Taking it out on someone else won’t do it.

      Like I said in the post, if you have to struggle to find the time, the only way you’ll be successful is if you want it more than anything else. I think all challenges are like that. I’m not so sure she even knows how much she wants to be a writer. She loves her music, too, as she is professionally trained.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  32. “If you allow yourself an out, you’re likely to take the out.”

    This is so true and I tell people that about working out all the time.

    I think my problem with writing every day is that I just started a new job, and it’s a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. That’s good news, because it means I’m entertained and happy and productive, but it also means that my brain is shot after 5 PM. I’ve been spending my evenings on the couch doing nothing except recharging my grey matter.

    The thing is: I know I need to get back to writing. I have a detailed revision plan for my novel that I’m avoiding, and three writing prompts for different groups that I’m ignoring, and a blog that I struggle to keep interesting (but at least I’m still updating that). I’ve been telling myself that I just have to find the rhythm in my new job, but maybe that’s my “out.” I have to stop having the option of being too tired to write in the evenings, and just get back into it. After all, I’ve been “getting used to the new job” for a month now, it’s about time I get used to writing with a full-time job as well.

    Sorry about the rant, just needed to write it all out! And thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hello nascentnovelist,

      I hear you on all levels. During a particularly dark time in my life, I quit writing because I thought I wasn’t any good at it. After I married and had kids, my personal/spiritual life actually worsened because I felt very frazzled and overwhelmed with being a new mom.

      A lot of those early months (when the kids were babies) are blurry in my memory, but I found myself writing when I had 30 minutes here, 15 minutes there. After a while, I felt happier and more fulfilled. I kept writing, and eventually it became a necessary part of my day.

      Looking back I realize why I was able to fit writing into such a busy, stressful lifestyle. I started out writing something non-threatening.

      I didn’t work on anything I expected to publish, or that anyone else would see. I just started writing a story all for myself, with the full intent of having fun. It turned out to be such a relaxing hobby that I became more open to trying other pieces of writing.

      Soon, I was writing a novel that I had every intention of publishing. Before I knew it, I was committed, finding that 2-hour block of time so I wouldn’t be interrupted, and here I am. I’m all over the place with my writing; I refuse to let anything get in my way of writing again; and I am the happiest when I’m writing. Even when I’m exhausted–I just look forward to writing.

      It sounds like maybe what you need to try is start writing something just for the fun of it. Don’t pressure yourself into doing things that require too much follow-through or responsibility. If poetry is something that’s fun and you never expected to share it with anyone, then spend maybe 15 minutes crafting a small poem. Or try some of those writing challenges–a couple of us Limebirders participate in the 100 word challenge over at Julia’s Place. You don’t need to link yours up publicly, but perhaps just looking at it as a fun way of fitting writing into your life is what you need to help it grow into something more serious.

      Hope some of this helps, and thank you so much for commenting!

      • It does help. You are completely right! I need to find something non-threatening and start there. It’s just a little hard to not notice the big work that I used to be so excited about, but that’s now just a giant blob of guilt on the horizon. But 100 word writing prompts might be the way to go!

        Thank you so much for the insightful and helpful answer. You made me feel like I can do this, and that’s a good feeling.

        Have a great weekend!

      • Hi nascent–

        Oh good. I’m glad my idea opened a door for you. Please keep me posted with how you get on.

        Thanks again!

  33. Bit late to the party but I love this post!

    I used to be all ‘oh, I’ve been so busy’ – well, just working and going out. and really I could have fitted it in. It really is a case of finding the time as it really does depend how much you want to do it and how sorry you are feeling for yourself.

    You’re such an inspiration! I was going through a bit of a dry spell writing wise, because I had the time, I just didn’t have the inclination (bad writer!) but your post has inspired me to write some articles! Thank you!

    • Hi Charlotte!

      Wow, thank you so much for your kind words. The best bit about blogging and sharing my experiences is helping someone else with their writing endeavors. I never had that kind of support or encouragement when I was struggling back on the writing horse. I will never forget how lonely and small I felt.

      Knowing that I have inspired you to write some articles has just made my day! I have a huge smile on my face! 🙂

      Thanks for such a lovely comment!


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