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How to Find Time to Write

Updated on June 24, 2009

Destiny's Going to have to wait because I'm a bit busy at the moment

An overwhelming sense of impending destiny brought tears to my eyes on a recent October afternoon. This was the moment I had waited for my entire life; sitting down to write a novel with a universal theme, incomparable metaphors and astonishing allegory. I was prepared to craft sentences that only Faulkner could rival, but with the insight of Thurber and the eloquence of Angelou. I inhaled the inspiring aroma of fresh brewed coffee in my mug, touched my fingers to the keyboard and typed I n e . Four-year old Madelyn, tugged at my sleeve.

I turned to give her my full attention. Already a knowledgeable observer of human nature, Madelyn knew that if I kept typing while saying "uh huh," I wasn't really listening. and she’d just have to repeat herself in ever increasing decibel levels until I understood her message.

"Look what I can do."

"What?" I gazed at her. Who could fail to be charmed by the rounded cheeks, the infectious smile, the inquiring eyes?

Madelyn opened her mouth and burped. Loudly. On purpose. Then she giggled.

"Well, isn't that something." I'd waited for those burps when she was an infant, never once imagining this moment.

"Bill taught me."

The week before, her older brother had taught her how to make spitballs. At least they weren't fighting.

"I taught everyone at preschool today, too." She skipped back outside, burping as she went.

I considered calling her back for another manners lecture, but decided against it. She'd burp for her father this evening and he could have the pleasure.

I sipped my coffee, turning my thoughts back to the novel. I imagined being compared stylistically to Hemingway, but with the wit of Erma Bombeck and the complexity of Virginia Wolfe. I touched my fingers to the keyboard and read what I’d typed. Ine.

What the heck was that going to be? Ine…quality? Ine…ficiency? Ine..ptitude? I backspaced and started over. I typed Unw when the telephone rang. The caller ID showed my parents’ number but I answered it anyway.

"Hi, mom. Can I call you back in a--"

"Talk to your father. He won't listen to me." This was unusually abrupt for my mother.

"What happened?"

"He's wearing an earring." She sounded a bit hysterical.

"Which ear?" If this was an indication of a deeper issue that would provide material for more provocative personal essays, I needed the facts.

"I didn’t notice. Which ear, Dave? No, Beth wants to know which ear it's in. Did you hear him? He says the right. No, now he's laughing and says the left."

“So what’s the problem?” I asked.

"That attitude isn't going to help me. I'm going to call your brother."

I didn’t see how calling David would help.

After we hung up, I took another sip of my coffee, now lukewarm, and looked at my computer. My command of language would be comparable to Twain's, with the perspicuity of Jane Austin and the epigrammatic fluency of Ogden Nash.

Unw. What had I been trying to say? Unw..anted? Unw..arranted? More like unw..ritten. I deleted the letters and rubbed my temples.

I placed my fingers over the keyboard, but before I could type anything at all, Holly, age 6 going on 2 or 22 depending on the day, limped to my side.

"I cut my knee," Holly announced. Blood gushed down her leg.

"I'll say!" I hurried her to the bathroom. "This has to hurt. Why aren't you crying?"

"You told me not to." She didn't flinch when I wiped the blood and dirt away to see how deep it was.

"Why- -oh." Yesterday she'd run inside shrieking like she'd torn off a limb. Turned out she had a small sliver that I removed without tweezers. "You didn't have blood yesterday. You're allowed to cry over this."

"I don't feel like it now. Can I have a Little Mermaid band-aid?"

“Of course." I put the band-aid over the cleansed wound and she limped back outside. "Be careful!" I called after her.

I returned to the computer, took a sip of my coffee. It was cold. I stared at the blank screen. Wasn’t I about to write something? An essay of some kind? A poem, perhaps?

"What's for dinner?" Bill called through the screen door.

"Something as appetizing as if it came from a four star restaurant, but with the budget of McDonalds and the simplicity of Betty Crocker," I answered.


"Yes! And if I order now, it'll be here by the time your dad gets home from work."

"Want to watch me ride no-handed?"

"Sure." I grabbed the phone and went outside. Destiny would have to wait until after everyone was sleeping. Or grown up. Maybe I’d remember the topic by then.

Finding time to write solutions

Finding time to write – suggestions - or solutions if they work!

  1. Getting up early – yuck. In my case, not happening. For you early birds - go for it.
  2. Staying up late – works sometimes but then I’m tired in the morning.
  3. When you wake up in the middle of the night – sometimes works for me as far as jotting down general ideas. I’m not at my best as far as writing at that time. My cousin, however, used her insomnia to write pretty much her whole novel, an hour of her insomnia time.
  4. Ten/fifteen minutes here and there – more realistic, but can be frustrating if you’re in that writing zone and something interrupts you. Still, better than nothing.
  5. Whenever you can. Let's be realistic. Not many of us get the chance to write eight hours a day, uninterrupted. Gotta take when you can. Let the dishes go for a bit. Have someone else (if you can) fold the laundry.
  6. Just write. Simplest, best advice. Just write. No excuses. Do it. Now. Your next lifetime you might be into laundry. Don't waste it now.

And don't forget NANOWRIMO

For those of you who don't know, NANOWRIMO is National Novel Writing Month. Look it up on the internet, and join the section for your city!  It's all of November, and you'll learn pretty quickly how to find time to write because by midnight on the 30th of the month, you're supposed to have a full draft of a novel at 50,000 words.That's about 1,660 words a day or so.

It can be done.

No one says it has to be a good draft, but it has to be 50,000 words. I've done it a few times.

I don't really have anything worth sending in or maybe even revising, but it did get me in the habit of writing.


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    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 6 years ago

      I think getting up early is a good advice.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • AngelaKaelin profile image

      AngelaKaelin 7 years ago from New York

      Writing is like a groove that wears deeper and deeper and the more you do it, the easier it gets. I really am fortunate that I don't have to deal with a lot of disruptions. But, when I first started writing, I just got rid of them! I'm writing for my life and my livelihood here. If they don't get it, I don't have time to explain it... I have a deadline! Good article!

    • Queen of the Lint profile image

      Queen of the Lint 8 years ago from The Laundry Room

      "Lint"sey Lohan! That's a good one!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      WOW - great info. As for your lint creations - I'll bet anyone as creative as you could get a lot of mileage out of "Lint"sy Lohan, lol. Cheers

    • profile image

      Common Thred 8 years ago

      Great Hub. So true! Oh, BRB

      Sorry, the doorbell rang :)

      Ok now where were we? Oh, yes..great hub and keep up the good work!

    • housedad profile image

      housedad 8 years ago from New York

      I don’t have the time to write a well crafted review for all or most of the reasons you eloquently stated above. Me, I’m holding out for college ... only 13 short years away ~!


    • Queen of the Lint profile image

      Queen of the Lint 8 years ago from The Laundry Room

      k@ri - or everyone wanted my attention when I was on the phone! But that's why I used to write in the laundry room (at the old house, when it was in the basement and not in the garage like here). No one bothered me when they thought I was doing laundry!

      Otherwise, all I have are increments! And now when I have large chunks of time I don't know how to use them efficiently.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      The more of your hubs I read the more I enjoy them, you write incrementally and I enjoy them incrementally how neat is that!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      LOL, how I know this feeling. It's gotten to the point that me sitting down at my computer seems to be the siren call for everyone to come see me! You gave me a good chuckle. Thanks!

    • profile image 8 years ago

      As usual... entertaining, lively, and straight to the point.

      Apparently you have developed a knack for maintaining a single thread of thought while twenty-seven others unravel around you...

      I also agree with another poster, you are definitely 'Erma Bombeck-ish,' but on-the-tallshot, and with a twist!

      Thanks for the laughs!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      Hey, you sound like you have the makings of another Erma Bombeck...persevere! :)

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      So glad you are writing a novel; you're such a good writer. You are now one of my favorites and I look forward to your hubs. I love your open honesty and low-keyed humor. And your first paragraph is perfection; it got me hooked right away.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      Yes, I understand-- been there, done that (only two kids) but multiple pets, dogs cats, rabbits, mice, ducks-- more. My husbnd is worth three-- both in value and required attention.

    • Queen of the Lint profile image

      Queen of the Lint 8 years ago from The Laundry Room

      Rochelle - I find time to write in increments. I think that's why most of my stuff is so short (like the preschool poems). Now I'm just trained to expect to be interrupted. I can't write unless I'm actually blocking something else out. I can't imagine having a rooster! I do have three dogs though, and three cats and three kids, (one husband - three would be excessive simultaneously - wouldn't it?!), so my household provides plenty of built in distraction.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      Oh this is beautiful-- and you referenced some of my favorite writers. How did you have time to write it?

      I am not a biologically DNR-programmed early riser, but my little dog has to go out and she will jump on my head and dig a hole into a part of my bran that might be necessary, if I don't take her for a walk.

      We no longer have our extremely loud and persistantly annoying rooster-- which used to wake all of us, but Seena thinks pre-dawn is time to get up. If not answered she will poop and puddle the hallway.

      So now I am an early riser--  after a 20-30 minute walk, I sometimes write without a fully egaged brain, sometimes I play the bubble-exploding game, and often I convince Seena to sleep on the couch with me for an hour.

      I hope you find lots of moments to write-- I DO so enjoy your stories.

    • Queen of the Lint profile image

      Queen of the Lint 8 years ago from The Laundry Room

      I used to keep a pen and paper by my bed but that only seemed to stop me from having any ideas. Still, it works for most people. Otherwise, repeat it to yourself seven times. That works for me, too, when I'm trying to remember a dream, or if I get an idea while bike riding.

    • SunShineSnow profile image

      SunShineSnow 8 years ago from Texas

      That is very well written and so true. Seems like every time I try to write everyone needs to talk, or the phone rings or worse yet I draw a total blank. I do find I have my best idea's while sleeping. I think I should run down stairs and start typing, but sleep takes over again as I start to think just keep it in your head. I wake up in the morning knowing I wanted to write some thing but can't remember. I know I should keep a pen and paper in the bathroom, or get a tape recorder.


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