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How Can I Find Time To Write? Ask Anne

writers need not fear perfectionHi Anne,

I’m trying to write my first novel as part of a series but I’m having a hard time finding the time to sit and create. I’ve got my story arc, characters, plot but need to put it all together. I need a good tip on how to get the time to get this done! Help!!

Donna Dooley-Oakley in comments

Hi Donna,

First, congratulations on getting your story arc, characters, and plots in hand. That’s no small task.

I have a hunch you already know this answer to this one, at least in a general sense. It’s a matter of making that novel a priority isn’t it?

Of course, I don’t know anything about you or your life, but let me ask you this question:

What’s getting in the way of you creating the time you need to do the writing?

First thought!

For myself, when I’m not writing something I think I want to write it boils down to one or more of these:

  • It needs more yeasting time.
  • I’m afraid I don’t know how to write it.
  • Fear that it won’t be good enough.
  • I really don’t want to write it afterall.

More yeasting time

If you’ve ever baked bread, more yeasting time is obvious. For others, the phrase refers to the thinking, feeling, pondering time it takes before an idea is really ready and ripe for writing. A full length novel can take a heap of yeasting before you’re ready to write, particularly if it’s your first. Even more for a series I suspect.

The solution is to allow more time – the problem, of course, is that could take forever. So you’ve got to be totally honest with yourself.

Sometimes I discover the need for more yeasting while I’m writing, sometimes before I write.

I’m afraid I don’t know how to write it

Early on in the writing game I discovered that often I could write my way into knowing how to write something. And the truth is we never know exactly how we’re going to write something, because we haven’t actually written that, whatever that is, yet.

While it’s fine to take a class or read a book, and either or both may be helpful, it’s like so many things is this business – you’ve got to write.

Fear that it won’t be good enough

This is the biggie! We’re all afraid whatever we write won’t be good enough, at least most of the time. We find ways to write anyway.

Of course fear is uncomfortable, so what? If you have the idea that writing will get more comfortable as you go on, you’re right; if you think, however, you’ll ever be free of fear, drop that idea right now and write.

Another thought is the first draft of your novel will be a perfect first/rough draft. Sure, tons will need to be changed, but until you get it written, that rewriting can’t happen.

I really don’t want to write it after all

I’d muttered to myself and anyone who would listen that I wanted to write a detective novel. I even started several. One day I asked myself why I wasn’t doing the work to finish one.

I’m glad I was listening closely because the answer that came was in the form of a mere whisper, saying “you don’t want to write it, you want to have written it.”

I was shocked, but when I took some time to really listen and examine that thought I discovered it was true. I didn’t want it written badly enough to do the work required to get it written.

There’s nothing wrong with not finishing a novel or a piece of writing as long as it’s a conscious decision, and not the result of some internal game playing.

But perhaps I’m totally wrong here and you want a purely practical approach to finding time to write your novel. If that’s the case try How To Find Time To Write A Book.

By the way, people hire me to coach them through writing their books or getting a good start on the writing.

You might enjoy You Need Only 3 Things for Your Freelance Writing Business

What have I left out? What would you add? What’s been your experience creating time to write?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer

For more help with freelance writing business issues sign up for my Freelance Writing Problem Solutions series.

Image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by mikecogh

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Makes sense… although I might say managing the time I have available for writing… first comes carving out the time, then comes organizing that… thanks, John.

  • Anne, for me it’s about two main things. The first is setting priorities. Getting my writing done has to be a high priority.

    The second is effective time management. This ensures I do have the time to write.
    John Soares recently posted..Beat Writer’s Block and Procrastination With My Kindle EbookMy Profile

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