If penning a book has been your dream but you’re having trouble finding time to write book content, you’ve come to the right (write?) place. Job tasks seem to keep up busy all day long (and sometimes on the weekends, too), so many aspiring writers understandably wonder where those extra hours in the day that they might use to write a book would come from.
And family commitments and personal responsibilities take up another big portion of our lives, too, making finding time to write the Next Big Novel challenging for a lot of would-be authors.
But if those lingering aspirations of becoming a Published Author motivate you to find a way to come up with enough time to write your first – or next! – book, take a look at our nine suggestions that can help you with finding time to write and increase your writing productivity so that you can finally reach the two most elusive words in any writer’s project: “The End.”
1. Finding Time to Write — Honestly Look at Your Priorities
The first and probably most important strategy you can do that will help you with finding time to write is to take an honest look at how you spend your time. Put pen to paper and track how long you do tasks on a few different types of days like a typical Monday, Friday, and weekend day.
Not only will you likely be surprised at how much “filler” activity time you have every day (or every day like that particular type of day), but you might even be able to build in writing time to an average day after just completing this single strategy.
Once you have a good idea of where you spend your time, you can begin to build in scheduled and unscheduled time into your day to write book content. Of course, changes to your schedule can happen and emergencies sometimes pop up but committing to discovering a time frame that works with what you are already doing can help you prioritize the things that matter the most to you along with meeting your goal of finding time to write your book.
2. Give Yourself a Writing Goal
You may already know if you are a goal-oriented type of person. But even those that don’t see themselves finding motivation in setting and meeting goals can find success by making a writing goal for themselves.
Since finding time to write a book is something that you already want to do, coming up with a reasonable goal for you to reach the finish line might be easier than setting a goal to do your taxes or redo the landscaping since presumably neither of those tasks is one that you are excited about completing.
The trick to using writing goals is to set achievable goals that you won’t dread working towards. Depending on your writing speed, the expected length of your book, and how much of the book you have left to write, one of these four options is a good place to start when developing a writing goal.
Write 15 Minutes Per Day: Perfect for faster writers or authors who just need to get started, dedicating just 15 minutes a day to writing book content can get you closer to finishing your book. One trick many authors use is to up the minutes incrementally once you have established a 15-minute writing habit. After all, 16 minutes feels just about the same as 15 minutes, and 17 feels a lot like 16 minutes.
And not only will you build up your writing endurance, but you may also find that 15 minutes (or 16 or 17) is not enough after you have established the habit, so this often-used author trick may become the first step in becoming an author of multiple books.
Words Per Day: Another common writing goal is to divide out the number of expected pages you want to write by how many writing days you have to calculate a daily writing goal. Since most young adult novels are between 10,000 and 50,000 words, authors in this genre might decide to write 500 words a day to finish a 35,000-word book in 70 days.
One caveat of this goal strategy is to be sure that you set a reasonable goal. If you are having trouble finding time to write more than a few hundred words a day, then setting a goal of 1,500 words per day is not only unreasonable but also may set you up for disappointment, discouraging you from finishing your ultimate goal of finalizing your book.
Words Per Week: If your daily schedule varies greatly, then setting a weekly word goal may be a better way for finding time to write book content.
Chapter/Topic Per Day or Week: Perfect for nonfiction book writing, setting a chapter or topic goal for a day or per week is a great way to motivate you for finding time to write book content. For longer chapters or more involved topics, breaking down the content into smaller writing bites can help you work on fitting in time to accomplish your small goal while working toward the larger goal of finishing your book.
4. Plan Short, Concentrated Writing Times
An effective way for finding time to write a book is to schedule a very short time to write into your day or week. Instead of blocking off 30 minutes or more to write, give yourself only five or 10 minutes to get your thoughts down.
This short writing time often becomes highly productive because writers know that they need to get their current thoughts down quickly to stay within the short window of time, compressing actions and energy into a quick but effective burst of writing.
5. Finding Time to Write — Trade Out One Habit for Writing
After evaluating how you spend a typical day, one way for finding time to write is to trade out one consistent activity for writing. If you like to scroll on social media for a while each day, take a break from social media and instead sub in writing during any time that you might have spent looking at your timelines.
6. Use a Voice Recorder
If you spend a lot of time in the car or in another situation where finding time to write might be challenging, you might consider using a voice recorder or voice-to-text feature to speak your book content into existence. Once your work is in written form, plan to take breaks from voice recording to review the text versions before getting too far.
7. Pair Writing with Another Regular Task
Another fun way for finding time to write book content is to pair writing with a task you already do regularly. For example, if you spend time exercising every day, then pair a short burst of writing just before or after that time of day. You can even combine voice recording with this pairing or even jot down a few notes on your phone to transcribe into your manuscript at a later time.
8. Finding Time to Write — Create Mini Writing Challenges
If you are a competitive person or someone who loves games, then creating your own little writing challenges can be a good way to get pen to paper. Create a challenge that takes into account current activities that you already participate in that will work well with writing book content.
For example, challenge yourself to write during every commercial of your favorite show instead of wasting the almost 15 minutes of ad time that most television shows include in an hour-long episode.
9. Do Other End-of-Book Tasks
While finding time to write your book may be because you have an unusually packed daily schedule, oftentimes authors find that they actually have plenty of time to squeeze in a few minutes of writing daily but lack the motivation to get going. The initial excitement about authoring a book may have faded or you may simply have broken the habit of writing regularly.
If motivation is part of the reason that you have not yet finished your book, consider spending some time working on some of the other book tasks that can help you regain that enthusiasm about your story or topic so that you will be excited to squeeze in writing time consistently to reach the final pages of your book.
- Set up professional social media pages to use to promote your book and your brand as an author.
- Contact a printer like Dazzle Printing to prepare to print your book.
- Research other books in your genre to get a feel for how your book should be marketed.
- Work with a design expert to plan out your book’s cover design.
- Secure an ISBN number for your book.
- Consider those who have helped you get this far so you can write an Acknowledgements page for your book.
Finding the Time to Write Your Book
Whether you stick to a robust writing plan to finish your book or just snag a few minutes here and there to complete your project or you use a host of strategies to help you get pen to paper, arriving at the last page of a book is a big accomplishment.
Once you write down those final words, you are ready to finalize your book’s contents before sending off your manuscript to the printer so you can add “Published Author” to your personal accomplishments.