Finding Time to Write

Of all the things I’ve done to become a more proficient teacher of writing, the act of putting words on a page has had the biggest influence on my practice. As I’ve engaged in being a writer, I’ve learned the nuances of the craft. Being a teacher who writes influences my instruction more than anything else.

However, the reality of finding time to write isn’t always easy. There are many things vying for our time in a single day. For some teachers, summer affords them the luxury of time. Even then it isn’t always easy to write. Here are some ways I make time for writing:

  • Schedule a specific time. I like to write in the mornings; however, my four year old is an early riser. Sometimes I’ve not written by the time he’s up. Therefore, I have a backup plan (it involves writing during rest time or after bedtime). By making time for the things we’ve deemed priorities allows for them to actually happen.
  • Let go of perfect scenarios. Sure I’d love to write in a quiet stillness with the morning sun streaming into my perfectly clean house while I’m inspired and the words pour onto the page. The reality of the matter is I write between loads of laundry, with a train track being constructed under the tunnel of my legs, and dinner cooks in the oven. More often I write late into the night or drag myself out of bed too early in the morning. I write despite perfection otherwise I would never write.
  • When you don’t know what to write, still write. One of my favorite things about writing is when the unexpected emerges. Part of the process of writing is allowing for the words you didn’t know you had inside of you to bubble to the surface. This doesn’t happen until I sit down and engage in actual writing. When I’m not sure what to write, I write anyway. I reread what I’ve already written and then I write more.
  • Create a routine. I usually get something to drink, then open up my laptop. I take some deep breaths and go through the motions of bringing up my document. I tend to skip around on the Internet a little first — checking email and some of my favorite blogs. Sometimes I read a bit from one of my favorite writers. Sometimes I open up a document I have with quotes that inspire me to write. Sometimes I reread what I’ve already written. Sometimes I can’t type fast enough because the words are spilling out. Usually I’m balancing my computer on my lap and I’m snuggled under my favorite blanket. I trust that even if I don’t feel like writing at first I’ll find a groove.
  • Find a writing group. Lots of people like the idea of being a writer. Fewer follow through and write. However, those who have others who are traveling the same road are more likely to actually write. This can be a group who meets face-to-face or an online group. Looking for something simple? Join the Slice of Life community here on Tuesdays.

How about you? What are your secrets to finding time to write?