How to Find Time to Write a Novel: 8 Tried and Tested Tips
So, you have a great idea for a novel, but you’re struggling to find time to write. You have Work, children, family things, social commitments all vying for your attention but, you still haven’t found the time to write that novel. Months have rolled by, and you haven’t started working on your story idea. Have you ever wondered how other writers and authors find time to write?
If you’re thinking “this is me,” then this blog post is for you. In this blog post, I’ll share with you eight tried and tested tips on how to find the time to write your novel.
So, let’s get started.
Tip #1: Change your focus
When most writers think about writing a book the first things that come to mind are word count and the first draft. There’s more to writing than just hitting a word count. Before you get to the stage of putting words on a page, you need to develop a story idea, outline your novel, create characters, build your story’s world, and research. All of this needs to be done before writing. And, for lovers of outlining this is the most creative part of the writing process.
So, what should you be focusing on instead? If you’re struggling to find time to write you need to change the question you ask yourself. Most writers ask themselves questions about word counts in order to measure the value of a recent writing session. It’s important to focus on the value of something especially when it comes to writing. At the end of each day ask yourself the following question:
Have you contributed to your current work in progress in a meaningful way?
When you focus the value of your overall daily contribution, you start to realise that you do in fact write every day. This question also highlights those moments when you’ve used research as a means of procrastination. Becoming aware of the way you procrastinate will help you to make better choices with spending your writing time.
Tip #2: Use the time you have wisely
How are you using your time? Whenever I’ve asked a coaching client this question, the response I get is often silence or a general list of tasks they completed that day. Before you find time to write your novel you need to know how you spend your time.
Take a notebook around with you every day for a week and take a note of how you spend your time. This does sound a little tedious and time-consuming. But, it’s a necessary evil. Most people, myself included are creatures of habit. We do the same things over and over again. The good news is, you only have to look at a week and not a month.
Pay attention to those idle hours where you’re doing nothing. These moments are referred to as downtime. Examples of these are, the daily commute, waiting for your children to finish school (soccer, tennis, dance classes), watching TV, reading tabloids, or mindless web searching. In these moments we could be doing other things like writing, especially when you’re waiting. You might decide to work on your novel on your morning commute or while you wait for your children.
I’m not saying to stop doing everything you love. But, be prepared to make a small sacrifice or notice the opportunities you have and use them to work on your novel. Suddenly “how do I find the time to write” becomes “how can I manage my time productively.”
Tip #3: Plan ahead
Tip #4: Create a habit
Tip #5: Don’t let your writing habit go
Tip #6: Write in 20-minute bursts
Tip #7: Go on a social media detox
Tip #8: Be Kind to Yourself
- Plan an international wedding
- Launch and create content for my youtube channel
- Create weekly content for my author blog
- Launch a new podcast
- Revise two books
- Create an email list freebie
- Write a novella
- Write a short story
So, how do you find time to write your novel? There isn’t a quick fix or magic bullet when it comes to achieving the things you want in life. This is especially true of writing, but, here is a quick overview of the things you can do to find time to write your novel:
- Change your focus
- Use the time you have wisely
- Plan ahead
- Create a habit
- Don’t let the habit go
- Write in short bursts
- Get off social media
- Be kind to yourself
As always, I have to ask; are you struggling to find time to write your novel? Which tips do you plan on putting into practice to help you make the time to write? I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.
I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.