Writing With Limited Time

One thing that seems to turn off would be authors is a lack of time, or at least a perception that they have no time to write. This couldn’t be farther from the truth in my opinion. There is always time to write, but it’s up to the writer to find where that time is hidden.

Now, I understand that it gets difficult sometimes to carve out the time to put those stories on paper. Trust me, I get that. I have two young kids, work a full time job at a prominent coffee company in my area, and own my own house with the issue that comes with that. I find the time to write. It’s not a lot of time, but I do have it.

I have a very brief moment of peace in between the kid’s bed times, and headed off to the land of dreams myself. This is only about a 30 minute window, but the way I see it is that a little time to write is better than no time at all. With such a small time for daily writing, I’ve set a daily goal for myself that is achievable for this limited availability. I set out to write 500 words a day on my focused work which, in theory, will see me having a finished first draft in about three months. If I write 500 words minimum a day, that’s 3,500 words a week, and 15,000 a month. My target for the first draft is between 40,000-50,000 words, so as long as I keep to my commitment that manuscript will be done in no time. Of course, this doesn’t include multiple drafts and edits, but the point is to just knock out that first draft which is, in my opinion, the hardest part of the process. Beyond the act of sitting down at my laptop to write, I also have to find the time to do one of the most important tools in a writer’s utility belt.

Write an outline.

Outlining is the greatest tool I use, as well as what I recommend to most aspiring authors out there. I’ve found that keeping my outlining time and writing time separate. This ensures I can have continuous progress on my work in progress, as well as progress on the next project I have lined up. It’s actually kind of funny as I type this out, because my current project I’m also STILL writing the outline as I’m currently writing it. The outline goes a few chapters ahead of the actual work which keeps me on track, but my outlining time is spent on the same WIP I’m in the process of writing. Don’t reccomend this method…Finish that outline first.

Anyway, so separating your outlining time from your writing time will ensure progress is being made on multiple fronts. For me, as most of you know, I manage a coffee company, so I have the luxury of a little bit of downtime during some more time consuming, and methodical tasks. My biggest task I do while outlining is making Cold Brew. For anyone in the coffee industry, you know it can be quite tedious just standing around waiting to pour over your next gallon of water on the grounds. Lucky, I use and awesome app called Writer Plus. It’s a neat little app that allows me to keep all my chapter outlines organized, and various story notes together in It’s own folder. It’s pretty neat.

Life can be difficult sometimes. Trust me, I’ve been there. However, we are writers. We have to write. Making the excuse that you don’t have the time is just that. It’s an excuse. You can take the 15 minutes you would normally take to mindlessly scroll social media to write 100 words or maybe more! You just need to have faith that you can get this done, and tell that story that’s been consuming your thoughts for so long.

Tell the story!

– John McCool

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