6 Unusual Ways to Find Time to Write

we are all racing against the clock, even this old one

Who has time to write? We all have busy lives filled with much higher priorities than writing, right? And how can we write if we’re away from our keyboards?

Social media yanks on our earlobes and shouts like a devil, “C’mon! Do a little scrolling. Check out what’s trending on Twitter. Watch a quick video. Go down the rabbit hole on TikTok. You deserve a break!” And you wondered why your ears were ringing.

Think of how much time we waste. My phone’s data can be alarming. 

But you can do this. You got this. When you’re taking a break, only you are in charge of you.

Do you listen to music? Podcasts? Watch videos? Then you may have more time than you think, and your phone can be a useful tool.

Yes, the very same instrument of the devil can save your writerly ass-ignments.

Bronze clock to remind us that time is slips away

We aren’t always sitting at a keyboard, but we almost always carry our phones.

Many times, a brilliant idea has popped into my pointed head, but I didn’t always take the time to write it out. Days later, I wracked my brain but couldn’t remember. Now, I type ideas into my phone.

Note to reader: All of my forgotten ideas were brilliant, I’m sure of it.

Here are 6 unusual ways to carve out time to write!

Stuck waiting for an appointment?

I wrote the inspiration for a 360-page book while waiting for a haircut. The same scene appears in the climax of my novel. I never know when an idea will flash in the dim light of my imagination. Truthfully, my imagination is a pretty wild place. That incredible feeling of excitement never lasts, so type it into your phone no matter where you are.

It’s a great way to bide the interminable time for doctor’s appointments too — When I finally sit on the cold examination table in my backless gown, I continue to tap on my phone.

Warning: You might be in a spacy state of mind when the doctor finally arrives and interrupts your scene, where your heroine is about to parachute into a dark fortress to rescue her bridge club held captive by a maniacal travel agent. 

Time flies and this clock is set 12:00

Do you hike or take walks?

I hike on trails with my dog to let my brain percolate. If an idea comes into my muddled mind, I stop to make a note or record a voice memo — hiking and typing can lead to tripping and falling.

Stuck in rush hour traffic?

Dictate your ideas with the microphone, PLEASE! Do NOT type them. 

Chilling after work, a workout, or playing too hard?

Tell yourself that you have one minute to write something on your phone. Add a few plot points or whatever comes to mind. Stream-of-conscious writing is a real thing. Unless it’s a grocery list — that doesn’t count. I bet you write for at least five.

Antique Wristwatch has been replaced by smart watches

Camping out to get the best seats for a Billie Eilish concert?

Record your new scene in a selfie video. When your book hits the shelves, post it on Instagram.

At a Bronco game?

While waiting for a TV timeout, pull out your phone and type a sentence or two. Any progress is progress.

Anytime you listen to music, a podcast, or click on social media du jour is the perfect time to write, even when you aren’t at home. Jot down YOUR brilliant ideas, or revise a plot hole or that awkward sentence that has been on repeat in your head since you woke up this morning.  

You can carve out time. Flick the devil off your shoulder once in a while. You will be surprised by how much you accomplish. You might even look forward to your next doctor’s appointment.

Tick Tock!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Writing or revising a book? Have trouble writing a grocery list?

How to Write a Book in One Month

How to Write Thousands of Words a Day

What Twins, Who Inhabit My Brain and NaNoWriMo Taught Me

Why NaNoWriMo Works and It’s Not Too Late to Join

6 Unusual Ways to Find time to Write with antique wristwatch in background

36 thoughts on “6 Unusual Ways to Find Time to Write

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  1. Susie, thanks for the tips, so much of these ideas may appear lost, but I can assure you, that advice given to me in a matter of seconds, that appeared to be nothing, has changed my life on umpteen occasions, keep on the roll with your tips, art is the Mountain Top, amen, and good health to you all, amen… good topic for a book, life changing words..


          1. 😎. And if you fly here I have a car for you to use. Just say the word. This weekend a couple in a wedding here that are from Denver are using one.

            It would be a blast to swap travel and cancer stories! And each day / night make a toast and give thanks that we are still above ground.

            Colorado is on our list as well.

            Have a great weekend Susie!


  2. All excellent ideas. I’ve found what works best for me is to simply set a timer and do nothing but write until it goes off. No distractions for whatever amount of time I set the timer for. Some days it’s only 15 minutes, but most days I set it for at least an hour. I close all tabs on my browser (except my on-line thesaurus) and I make it a game – how many words can I type before the buzzer goes off. The psychology of writing and time management is a fascinating thing.

    Thanks for sharing the tips. Happy writing!!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Thank you, Patricia!
      I love your idea of a timer. I bet you write a lot more words with the clock ticking away! I tell myself that I can write for at least ten minutes. Once I start and get into it, I need a timer to get my blood moving, or my knees get stiff. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So the other ideas didn’t count? Good to know. I think that people should stop dancing around the edges and write, or, admit they aren’t writers. Or, whatever they think that they do. Thanks for your always thoughtful reply.


  3. Great post! I write full time for a living, and it’s remarkable how much of my time is spent not actually writing. In large part it’s because other tasks are also necessary as part of the usual workload of a writer, in order to enable the writing. But yeah, social media tends to call… and then there’s the way that the resolution of thorny writing problems often arrives at inopportune moments, usually about ten minutes before another commitment (such as dinner).


  4. Some good tips here, Susie! The one about using time while you’re waiting for an appointment reminds me of something Paul McCartney once said, about how he would use those times to challenge himself to get a song written. 🙂


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