Finding Time to Write

Image (from left to right): Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Paramount Pictures

The Speed of Life

Ferris Bueller knew how to live life to the fullest. Whether it was singing Danke Schoen on a float, dining as the Sausage King of Chicago, or ripping through the city streets in a 1961 Ferrari, he didn’t just pass the time, he thrived in it.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Don’t let the fact that he is a fictional character deter you. Anyone can have that full and rich a life if they use their time well. No, that doesn’t mean that every moment has to be spent in some super productive multi-tasking chaos. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Time rolls along, seemingly slower when you’re down and out or faster when you’re having fun, but it rolls. Day to day, week to week, month to month, and season to season. Each moment has its own purpose. Slow down and respect it.

Doing what you want to do with the time you have is the key to getting what you want out of life.

What Are You Waiting For?

If you want to be a writer, you should be writing. If you aren’t, you are wasting your time.

Professional writers may have an easier time bringing themselves to the writer’s table. After all, no words means no food, electricity, or roof over their heads. The trouble comes more for those us who have not yet made a professional career out of writing. When we pursue writing for fun or as a hobby, maybe even hoping for a career, when we do not rely on writing to sustain us, do we give it the attention it deserves?

Not hardly enough.

The cold hard truth is that we allow ourselves to get sidetracked. We get caught up in all the other responsibilities that life throws our way, whether that is the job that actually pays the bills, tending to the needs of friends and family, or any number of worthy and not so worthy distractions.

I am in no way trying to take away from the importance of these aspects of your life, but you have to find time for your personal needs as well. If you spend your days dreaming about your book cover or seeing your name on the New York Times Best Seller list, make room for writing in that busy schedule of yours.

How to Make Time

How do you find time to write? Simple. You make it happen.

There is always time in the day. I know, I know, it doesn’t always feel like it, but look at me. I’m a mom of two grade-school kids, and I work two part-time jobs while keeping my writing dream alive on the side. Because I want this to happen, I include writing on my to-do list. I make it a priority.

After all, a publisher is not going to give me a free pass because I’m “busy”.

What time do you wake up in the morning? Get up a half hour earlier.

How late do you go to bed? Stay up a half hour later.

How much television do you watch? If you’re not willing to cut out some shows (really?!), at least watch them on a DVR to cut out the extra commercials.

Do you have a long commute? A train ride can be a perfect time to jot down some ideas or you could even consider dictating your story if you are the one behind the wheel.

There are a million ways to find time to get your ideas on the page. With a little creativity, you can find a schedule, even a few minutes, that works for you.

The Time Is Now

Too often people wait for some magic date to get started. Let me tell you a secret. Today is as good as any New Year’s Day or birthday to motivate yourself. The time is now.

If it is what you really want, why are you waiting?

  1. Schedule time to write. Even if it is a half hour a day, a few fixed hours during the week, make the commitment. Pencil it into your calendar. Make an appointment with yourself.
  2. Protect that writing time. It is too easy to get distracted and find yourself using your writing time for other things. You wouldn’t no show an appointment with your doctor (well, maybe some of you would), but if you did, you would probably be hit with a no-show fee. In that case, there could literally be a price to pay. You wouldn’t no show a friend either or your relationship could suffer. Why would you respect yourself any less? Honor your time and your goals. Build momentum with your writing.
  3. Write more. What you write is not always going to be good but don’t let that stop you from writing. You get better the more you write. Don’t let so-called “writer’s block” be an excuse to not write, to cancel your appointment with yourself. When the going gets bad, write bad but write something. You cannot edit a blank page.

It’s time to stop the excuses. Stop no showing yourself, and find the time to write.

Live like Ferris Bueller and chase after the life you really want!