10 Ways to Write More in Less Time
Between school, work, family, hobbies, passions, and ritualistic sacrifices (if you’re into that kind of thing), it can be hard to fit in time to write. Or, when you do sit down to write, all you are met with is the blank page and the flashing cursor taunting you.
But what if there was a way to write more without eliminating more of what you do in your spare time (like underwater basket weaving or horizontal running)? Here are 10 ways to sneak in more writing.
Cling viciously to every second
1. Do you ride in a carpool or on public transportation where you could write for a few minutes each day? This is also a great time to write notes for what you will write about next (and should help writing come easier when you finally sit down to do it). Or you can just look longingly out the window and daydream about when your book is on the NY Times Bestseller list. Your choice.
2. If you drive yourself to work or school, consider getting books on tape (through your phone or library or bookstore) that you can listen to while you drive. This can free up later time to write that you would have used reading. Reading is also a great way to get inspiration, writing help, and tips on what you shouldn’t do (if the book is more painful than getting your teeth pulled, for instance, think about why it is that way and then do the opposite in your own writing. Unless you, for some reason, enjoy reading and writing painful books).
3. Carry a notebook or use the “notes” section on your phone. Write down interesting dialogue you hear throughout the day, plot or character ideas, names, or anything else that could be helpful later on.
4. Use any time you are waiting. Sitting in a doctor’s offices or waiting for a table at a restaurant can be great times to write a scene or plan out what will happen in the next one, either on your phone or in a notebook.
5. Utilize the cloud. (By this I mean things like Google Docs, not rain clouds. Unless you use Google to predict rain, although I’m not sure how that would help with your writing. ANYWAY…) Thanks to the internet, you can easily look at the previous day’s work, proofread, edit, and keep writing. Then, you can switch between laptop, phone, tablet, or other devices without having to send yourself files through email or other means. I periodically download a copy on my computer for backup, as well, but you don’t have to.
6. Replace one Netflix episode with writing. I know that it can be hard to break the addictive cycle that is a Netflix marathon, but if you replace one thirty minute show with writing each day, that’s 3.5 hours a week, 14 hours a month, and 168 hours a year. It’s not super significant, but it definitely can make a difference. (I’m not advocating you cut ties with your television all together as it can be a great passive activity and a good source of inspiration, but just one episode could help tremendously.)
7. If you know that Wednesdays you have gerbil racing, skydiving, and quilting class, so you won’t get home until late at night, don’t plan on having to write 5,000 words that day. While some people prefer to have set word counts (such as 1,000 words each day, every day), I have weekly word counts (such as 7,000 words per week) that I divvy up based on how much I have going on each day. This might require a calendar (and possibly stickers, if you’re into that), but helps me feel less stressed throughout the week.
8. Utilize weekends and days off. I know how it goes. You wake up at noon, take an hour to eat brunch and drink coffee, then sit around the house trying to find the motivation to write as you search YouTube for cat videos. You don’t have to give up sleeping in, but think about what you could give up. Can you wake up one hour earlier? Can you turn your phone/internet off until you finish writing? Could you increase your word count on the weekend so you don’t have to during the week?
9. Know what you’re going to write about before you sit down at your computer. I usually write a sentence or two in my notebook about the basic events that I will write about that day. This way, I don’t use all my writing time trying to think about what should happen next, nor do I spend a lot of time plotting. (If you want to plot your novel down to what kind of crumpets the protagonist is going to eat, I won’t stop you. But I, personally, don’t want to take the time to do it.)
10. Did you know that playing, coloring, or doing other “childish” things can promote creativity? Doing things like this, or journaling, before writing can help make it easier to write. This could mean more productivity (yay), less frustration (double yay), and an excuse to do childish things (triple yay).
What things do you do to write more each day? Leave a comment.
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