Writing in the midst of life

My dear friend Leslie asked how I manage to carve out time in my life to write.  My first thought was… ‘I grab a minute wherever I can‘ and that’s true, but it’s not the whole story.

When I first started writing this story I was nearly frantic to write.  The words were coming so fast that I almost couldn’t bear to stop.  With a family though, stopping is required sometimes.  Boo!  😉

It didn’t take long before I realized that if I was going to write this thing (in less than 10 years), I would need to ‘carve out time’ for it.

1. Get up early or stay up late! I’ve done both, though I find that I am at my best early.  The later hours seem to be tougher.  My brain was tired and, though the ideas were there, the words weren’t always fresh.  Having said that, if the later hours are worse but all that you can get, then make the best of it!

2. Take care of business!  Get rid of things that may be distracting your mind.  For me that means things like making sure that my ‘to do’ list was under control.  Cleaning the room (or house) around me so the clutter wouldn’t cause me to lose focus.  Shutting off the phone (sorry to anyone who may have gone unheard during this time… leave a message okay?).  Even so far as to having a snack and drink right beside me so that it wasn’t something else for me to have to stop for.

3. Get in the zone!  I know this sounds like a no brainer but it took me some time to get into a zone where I could focus.  My trick is to make sure the kids are occupied (or my awesome man has it all under control) and plug in.  I get my ear-buds in and pump up the volume!  If it’s too low I still hear what’s going on around me and that can be distracting.  If you have a place to write where things seem to flow best, stay there.  Mine is where all the action usually is so that’s a bit tough.  If you can migrate away from any wonderful chaos, then do it!

4. Music!  Not everyone will be the same, but I always have music on that will inspire me to write my heart out.  The tune will depend completely on what the scene is that I am writing.  I find it’s easier for me to write and to write with big emotion!

5. Just do it!  Even if the words aren’t flowing, even if the plot line is unclear at the moment… don’t let it keep you from using every precious moment you have available to you.  Even if you only get 300 words down (or 100 words, or just get a chance to review) these are all moments where inspiration can strike.  We all know what it’s like when the words are there, the story is there, you could write your fingers off if you only had the time.  We’ve also all been stuck spinning our wheels wondering if the story will remain unfinished forever!

6. Write on-the-go!  In this world of laptops, tablets and smartphones, this is a lot easier and I encourage you to snag even 5 minutes if you can.  Life can be insane and can move your writing to the back burner, and that’s not always bad, but you don’t want to lose that momentum.  If you can write for even 5-minutes a day on your creation, you won’t lose your path.  The story won’t be forgotten.  By write on-the-go I also mean have a way to jot down notes when something comes to you.  I carry around a notepad (and my smartphone) just in case an idea strikes.  I was  doing errands the other day and suddenly I thought ‘He exploded from the rail, taking her sword from her and engaging the captain.’  It was perfect and you can bet I pulled out my iPhone and made a note.  It can happen anywhere.  A line, a quote, a whole plot… and if you’re not prepared, you can lose it.

I know that not all these things are how I make time, but they are also how I make the most of the time that I am able to carve out.


What do you do to ‘carve out time’?  Do you have more tips/hints that could help us fellow writers?  I’d love if you’d share them with us!!

P.S. I was honored to be included in another bloggers post today and she had some awesome tips for writers!  Check her blog out here:


6 thoughts on “Writing in the midst of life

  1. Oo! I feel like such a celebrity, getting mentioned in your post!

    And thank you SO much for writing it. Finding time and maximizing it is by biggest challenge. I get my blog posts done regularly, but they don’t seem to require as much of a shift in thinking as fiction. For fiction, I really need to get in the zone, which has really held me back when it comes to grabbing a minute or two here or there. Maybe I just need to suck it up and make it happen.

    For me, like you, the early mornings are the most productive fiction-writing times. There are fewer distractions and my brain is coming from a different place–it’s not haywire with all the craziness that happened through the course of the day. I need to get better about making my early mornings more focused on fiction and less on work. Or carving out a few a week for fiction, at least. And I need to get better about writing on the fly!


    • sarahssundry says:

      I would love to carve out a week for writing! A friend mentioned to me that a writer I enjoy wrote her book in 2 weeks!! She said she all but neglected her family but can you imagine knocking one out in 2 weeks! Awesome! Writing on the fly may take some getting used to but it’s good once you can do it. It’s amazing how much you can get done that way. 🙂 Thanks again Leslie!

  2. Pete Denton says:

    Great post. I agree that you’ve just got to do it. Shiny distractions can sometimes be put under a blanket, hidden away so we don’t see them and allow us to concentrate on writing. Now, where did I put my blanket as shiny blogs keep distracting me 🙂

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