One day, you’re going to write that novel that’s been tugging at your sleeve.
One day, you’re going to start posting regularly on your blog.
One day, you’re going to finish that ebook you started.
Trust me, I know how you feel. For years, I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t actually write. I had lots of ideas and dreams, but they never made it out of my head and onto the page.
Why? Because I was waiting for the perfect time.
I thought that I’d suddenly, magically, find myself inspired. Great chunks of free time would materialise from nowhere, without any effort on my part.
Guess what? It never happened.
If you’re struggling to find the time (and energy) to sit down and write, then take heart. You’re not alone – in fact, “finding time to write” is the most common issue that I’m asked about when I’m coaching writers.
Here’s why there’ll never be a perfect time:
#1: Writing is a High-Resistance Activity
I’ve been writing for a living for three years (I’ve completed a novel in that time too), and I still find myself reluctant to get going when I sit down to write.
Writing isn’t easy. It takes mental energy – and often emotional energy, too. For most of us, the writing process is also a thinking process: for instance, if you’re putting together a “Hire Me” page for your blog, you’ll have to get completely clear about what exactly you offer, what you charge, and so on.
There are an awful lot of activities that feel much easier than writing. Doing the housework. “Networking” on Twitter. Making a coffee. Sure, you’ll have the occasional day when you’re filled with inspiration and you can’t wait to get to the keyboard. But those days are pretty rare.
#2: Writing Requires Concentration and Privacy
Finding the perfect time to write isn’t the only issue at hand. You might also need to find a good place. It’s very tough to write if you’re sitting on a sofa with your laptop while the television’s on and housemates or family members are chatting.
I personally find it almost impossible to write at all if anyone can see my screen (even if they’re not deliberately watching) – and I know that a lot of writers feel the same way. To feel secure enough to write, you need a certain amount of privacy.
The perfect place isn’t going to appear from nowhere. You might hold out hopes for a magical day when your family do the chores, clear off to the park and leave you in peace to write … but is that really going to happen?
#3: Writing Is Important but (Usually) Not Urgent
Your writing is important – even if no-one else seems to think so. If you get that novel finished, it could be the first step on a lucrative new career. If you write regularly on your blog, you’ll establish a strong online platform. And if you finish that ebook, you’ll have something to sell to your blog’s readers.
Beyond that, your writing is important because it’s part of who you are. I’d hazard a guess that you’re happy when you manage to write – and dissatisfied when weeks or months go by without any writing.
The problem is, “write novel” probably isn’t the most urgent thing on your to-do list. Less significant but more time-pressing tasks – like doing the chores, or fulfilling commitments that you’ve taken on – are pushing writing down and down the list.
So What Can You Do?
Stop waiting for the perfect time.
Instead, make a commitment to find two hours during the next week when you can write. There are 168 hours in a week – you can take two of those to do something that really matters to you. Perhaps they won’t be the perfect time – but they’ll be far better than nothing.
Good luck with your writing!
Ali Hale is a writing coach and founder of our Freelance Writing Course. If you’d like some help finding time to write, she has a free mini-ebook “How to Find Time For Your Writing,” available when you join her newsletter list. (You’ll also get weekly writing tips and encouragement and occasional extra free ebooks – all straight to your inbox, all completely free.) You can find out more about the newsletter, and sign up, here.