Carpe de pen

When I was in high school, I thought I was busy. I had church youth group, youth orchestra, early morning scripture study class, after school stuff, accelerated classes, multiple AP/IB tests every spring, something like a social life, etc.

My dad told me I’d only get busier—with college classes, activities, papers, socially stuff. Then you’re working—often more than 40 hours a week—spending time with family, responsibilities at church, hobbies.

And then we had kids.

A lot of times when you talk to someone who falls among the 90% of the population who wants to write a book, they’ll smile wistfully and say, “I wish I had time for that.”


Surveys show that most people do want to write (or to have written) a book. And yet most people don’t actually do it. The minority who do write a book aren’t all just a lot less busy than those who don’t.

It means that we make choices—often hard choices—to create the time to write. The correct response to those wistful smiles might be “If you want it bad enough, you make time.” Because if you wait until you’re not “too busy,” you’ll probably be waiting until it’s too late.

Yes, life does have its seasons, and some times will be easier to make the time to write. But if you can’t find even 15 minutes a day, then maybe you need to look at the reasons why.

There’s really no time like the present.

How do you find time to write?

Photo by Grant MacDonald

9 thoughts on “Carpe de pen”

  1. YEP! Time CANNOT be an excuse not to write a book. It just can’t. Unless you’re a heart surgeon who is literally never home and you’re constantly in the operating room…but even then, there’s vacation. Might take 10 years to write a book, but it is possible. I don’t find time to write. I make it. I make sacrifices, sometimes not always good or noble ones. 🙁

    1. Me too, Michelle. A lot of the time, the lesser of two evils is to sacrifice is sleep (rather than time with kids), which just makes me impatient with the kids the next day. But if I don’t write for a long time, I get impatient with my whole life. Tradeoffs.

  2. It always surprises me when someone hears that I’m a writer and responds with, “I’ve always intended to write a book… and I will one day (a) when the children are grown up, (b) when I’m not having to care for my aging parent/spouse, (c) after I retire and don’t have to go to work every day, etc. If they don’t have the passion to write *now*, they won’t have it then; and that’s what it takes to make time.

    I don’t “find” time to write. It seems to find me. Every time I stop for a coffee or sit down for a quiet moment, I find myself reaching for my laptop or notebook to jot down “just a few lines”. There’s a compulsion about writing that can’t be explained to those who don’t feel it.

    1. You say it so well: “If they don’t have the passion to write *now*, they won’t have it then.” +1!

  3. I’m amazed at the time I found to write during nano. Basically, I just said “I will do this at this time” and I did it. I did miss two things I usually do, but my family understood that missing these events was for a temporary reason. And, I rescheduled some appointments from morning time to evening time so I could write during the morning.

    Also, I think we can write more if we try different types of writing. Yesterday morning I free wrote for awhile. I may not use what I wrote, but this morning I woke up with an AHA because of what I wrote yesterday. So maybe writing is something we commit to, like exercise, but on some days when we can’t fit in a gym trip or long workout, then we get stretching in–or whatever. So on days when I can’t write for a long period from a synopsis, then free writing works. I think it’s important to write everyday and to stay mentally involved in at least two projects, and maybe one of those projects is just plot planning or free writing. c-ya Jordan!

    1. I think that’s the best reason to do Nano and the best takeaway, too.

      I love the idea of different kinds of writing! I’m “foreblogging” this!

  4. Oh, man. As they say, if I had a nickel.

    This kind of reasoning drives me crazy. “If I only had the time . . .” coming from people who watch 3 hours of TV, or make elaborate quilts, or have some other massive hobby.

    You MAKE time for what important to you. That means cutting and prioritizing.

    1. Absolutely—you MAKE time by MAKING choices and MAKING sacrifices.

      Of course, not that there’s anything wrong with making elaborate quilts. If that’s what they’d really rather be doing in their heart of hearts, just own up to it, and make the most beautiful darn quilts ever.

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