Finding Time to Write

Peace in an Age of Metal and Men Cover
Peace comes to Texas

From now until Peace in an Age of Metal and Men comes out on June 7, I am writing a series of posts on writing, science fiction, and the creative process. 

Writing a novel isn’t exactly quick.

It takes time. A lot of it. Hours and hours. Months pass as the words slowly form on the page. You wrestle each word from that slow march to death. Each meager word wiggles and slips, trying to escape capture. It takes effort. Concentration. Finding time to write can be difficult.

It takes about eighty thousand words to make a novel. Once you capture them all, you know what?

You’re about halfway there. Maybe less.

Editing takes just as much time as writing, but instead of being a life-affirming act of creation it’s a gut-wrenching slog of tearing down. Wreck what you just made so it can be rebuilt better. Then? Wreck it again. This isn’t quick, either.

So where does that time come from?

Turns out it’s easy.

  1. Train your brain. Got a half hour for lunch? Write 500 words. Train yourself to lock into writing mode FAST. Really fast. It can be done. When those meager minutes show up don’t mess with Twitter or click on oh my god those websites are making you stupid. Just start writing.
  2. Dedicate time. Some pieces of writing are just hard. They take full, undivided attention for hours. Maybe that’s a complex fight scene or that emotional payload. Whatever it is, sometimes you just need to spend an hour or two writing. Undisturbed. Do that.
  3. Priorities. What’s important to you? Yeah, I get it. Writing. What else? Your kids? Ok, that’s cool. Your wife? Yup. Your job? Well, yeah, you gotta pay the bills. Hours and hours of reality television? Hmm… Sleep? Well, actually, sleep is pretty important. The deal is that you spend time on things that are important to you. It’s just a matter of deciding if writing is one of those things. If it’s not? Well, that’s fine. It really is. There is a lot of good television out there and someone needs to enjoy it. Just don’t complain about not having enough time. Or DO! If complaining is a high priority for you, then by all means, complain away.
  4. Tear the flimsy fabric of space/time. Go ahead. Just a little. Maybe stretch it a little over there near your writing desk. If you hear a ripping noise, maybe back off a little. I mean, it’s probably not a big deal. What’s that? Time worms are squirming out of the hole? Try not to worry about it.
  5. Headphones. Or earbuds are fine, too. Get the good ones that completely isolate you no matter where you are. There could be an elephant parade through the restaurant where you’re writing and you’ll never notice. Get some decent headgear and EVERYWHERE is your writing desk. Finding time to write gets easier if you can do it any time, anywhere.
  6. Goals. Write 500 words a day. Or 2000 a week. Or five words every two days. Or do the #1k1hr (one thousand in one hour) challenge over on Twitter. Goals help. 500 words between “time with the kids” and “oh thank god they’re asleep I can take my pants off” isn’t such a difficult goal. It doesn’t take much of that to start seeing some real progress on a novel, short story, or last will and testament.

Ok, but seriously, you need to do something about those time worms.


2 thoughts on “Finding Time to Write”

    • That’s great! I’m always happy when someone else likes these covers. It’s not my art, but I’m really pleased with how they came out.


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