Where Do You Find the Time to Write?

(Editor's note: I just wanted to pop in here and say that "where do you find the time" is the question that I get asked that makes me laugh the most. You don't find time; you make it. And I couldn't agree with Tina more on the subject. -Allie.)

This topic is possibly the most YMMV topic I could write. What a person wants to know when they’re asking this question is, how do you find the time to write and keep doing everything else you want to do?

The short answer is, you can’t.

This is why only one in ten writers will finish a manuscript. It’s not that the other nine don’t have great stories to tell. The other nine can’t (or won’t) prioritize writing over social engagements, other hobbies, or time with their family.

And who can blame them?

My novel writing experiences were very different from each other. I was unemployed when I wrote The Corsican. Of course I looked for work, but I still found myself with hours of being stuck at home time. Toby was two, and he did what two year olds did, wandering around the house tasting various objects off the floor. I managed to wrestle some time to myself, and within a month I’d knocked out the bones of The Corsican.

Easy stuff, right?

Bento Box was much harder. I had a full time job, Toby was five, and this left me with few options. My schedule ended up with me working, coming home and enjoying family time, putting Toby to bed and then staying up to get a couple of hours of writing in. My social life folded like a card table, but I still allowed myself a few ‘go out and play’ days so as not to stress fracture.

I wrote on the weekends, unless I couldn’t. I wrote during my breaks at work unless I had errands. I wedged in scraps of time where I could find them. I wrote Bento pretty fast, all things considered. It was the editing that took months and months and months of time.

So, the question of ‘Where do you find the time’ is not the question you want to ask yourself if you have an idea for a story. The question is, does the story you have excite you so much that you’re willing to sacrifice other parts of your life to write it? Are you willing to stay in nights and write on the weekends and write when you’re exhausted from a bad day? Does your story compel you to stay up late or get up early, just to get those extra hours?

If it does, then you’ve got a story worth making the time for.

And that’s where writers find the time. They make it out of the opportunity cost of doing other things. They sacrifice for their work.

If that’s not for you, don’t despair. It’s absolutely not for everyone.

If you’re intrigued by this, you may find an unexpected story inside you, just waiting to be told.