When an author voices frustration about not being able to write, the advice often given is some form of “you just have to absorb everything and do it.” The assumption behind this well-intentioned reply is that the hurdle to overcome is fear of judgment, procrastination, or an inability to do something that isn’t perfect.
While those are all real barriers to writing that some authors need to overcome through a combination of force of will and to give oneself grace, sometimes the barrier to writing is more concrete, like a real lack of time. Some people may have all the will-power in the world, but if they don’t have time, they will feel stuck, and their writing will stagnate.
How do you keep moving forward with your work when you don’t have any time?
Authors Can Also Lack Time to Write
Some authors faced the problem of a lack of time over their writing careers. With aging parents who need care and attention, growing kids who need transportation to their activities, and a day job that is currently demanding every free moment, there is nothing left of their week for writing.
While you can’t consider this as complaining, authors are directly facing the hard truth that time is the only commodity that can’t be earned back or replaced once it is spent. When it is gone, it is gone.
However, here’s the thing about time. It’s a true equalizer. It’s one of the only things that is evenly distributed among all human beings.
You can make a rational argument that some people have more money, better looks, more beautiful cars, and so on. However, everyone gets the same amount of time to work with.
You Cannot Create Time
Something will always come along to fill the void. So, you need to stop thinking that now is not a good time to devote to your writing. You can decide right now that your creativity is essential, and that you’ll find the time to invest in it.
This doesn’t mean that you should pack every waking minute with activity. You also need to carve out time for rest and self-care. As always, your goal should be equilibrium and balance.
However, if you accept your role as an empowered artist, you’ll make time for your art. You’ll be surprised that doing it can be a lot easier than you think.
Four Ways to Write When You Have No Time to Write
On the one hand, you have no time. On the other, you need to keep working on your book, or you’ll lose the momentum and have to start over from scratch.
Here are some things that you can do to address this problem.
1. Practice the Scenes in Your Head
Start practicing imagining your scenes as if they were movie clips. When you have a moment alone, visualize the scene. Watch the characters interact and listen to their dialog. Enjoy the action as it unfolds in your mind. This mental work will pay off later.
2. Make Notes on the Fly
Some authors carry a small notepad with them wherever they go because they’ll never know when an idea is going to hit, and they want to be ready. Taking some form of notepad with you can be a helpful way to grab ideas as they come.
In the pad, you don’t need to journal out complete thoughts. You just need to capture sentences or notions or plot points.
3. Look for Stand-Ins
One of the most challenging things for some writers is to get an accurate physical description of their novel’s character. When left to their own devices, all their characters come out as weird stuff with no exact form.
One way to solve this issue is to look for stand-ins from the real world. Finding stand-ins is something that you can do when you don’t have time to sit in the chair and pound out words. You can keep a list of characters in your head and look for people to represent them.
It will save you time when you have a moment to sit and write because you won’t have to waste those precious seconds debating a character’s appearance.
4. Maximize the Voice Memo Feature of Your Phone
If you have a cell phone, it likely has some way to record audio messages. Spend ten minutes Googling your phone model and figuring out how to use it. Then, whenever something comes to mind, record it as a voice message for future you to write about.
Authors may experience a lack of time at one point in their lives. That’s why it’s essential to know how to address it when the challenge arises.
Commitment is the most important thing in any craft. Commit to doing your art or music or writing every single day. It doesn’t matter how many minutes or hours. The important thing is you do it every single day.
If you’re exhausted tomorrow and don’t feel like doing it, take five minutes and do it anyway. Get out the sketchpad, pick up the guitar, open the file of the book you’re working on. Spend a few minutes engaged in your craft.
One day, this tiny habit will gain momentum and expand. You’ll soon discover there is time to devote to your writing daily.