It’s not just about the time.

So. We find the time or make the time to write. It is possible.

But. Here’s the thing, and here’s why it’s tricky: you also need quality time to write.

What quality time is for one person might not be the same for another. If you’re writing a little bit every day, you know where the story is going, and you’re thinking about it regularly, then you may well be able to slip into writing-mode very easily – so that when you have fifteen minutes, you write for those fifteen minutes. Even better if you can grab fifteen minutes immediately after a thinking-session – e.g. thinking about your story as you walk to work, then grab fifteen minutes before you have to start your working day.

If you’re not doing this, then you need to factor in refamiliarising yourself with your work. When you’ve been away from a project, particularly a longer one, your return to it needs to factor in looking at it again. Possibly despairing. Possibly wondering why on earth you started writing this in the first place. Give it time. Let the thinking and musing start up again, at the back of your brain, and have a notebook nearby. This can be why having an entire day to write is often not as productive as having even half an hour each day over the course of a week. Sometimes it’s the only way people can find the time – but do factor in getting back into the swing of things.

Factor in the fact that you’ll need quality time to write. Accept and genuinely believe that thirty minutes of quality writing time, where you’re actually writing, is better than four hours of intending to write and staring out the window and eating biscuits and checking your email. Quality time is about having the headspace to write – if you have thirty minutes and need to spend ten minutes making a to-do list so that you really have those twenty minutes, so that you’re not spending half an hour half-thinking about everything else you need to do, then go for it. Factor in whatever it is you need to do to make the most of your writing time.

It’s a lot easier to find the time to write when you’re using the time you do have in the most efficient way possible.

You know. Most of the time.

About clairehennessy

Writer (mostly YA fiction), creative writing teacher, tea drinker, book junkie. View all posts by clairehennessy

5 responses to “It’s not just about the time.

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  • Eimear

    Great post! Reminds me of something Stephen King said, that when you’re writing a first draft you *have* to do a bit every day, for momentum’s sake. It’s kinda why I want a netbook – I imagine whipping it out in all sorts of unlikely places. 😉

    • clairehennessy

      Momentum really does matter, and I think a lot of people tend to think of it as carrying them through hours and hours of ‘one day off’ which they’ve put aside for writing, instead of something that keeps you going over a long period of time.

      I have a mini-laptop yoke precisely for that reason. Hasn’t really worked yet but I live in hope! 😉

  • Rebecca James

    Hmm. This is why I used to write more efficiently when I had a small business to run. Now that I’m lucky enough to be a ‘full-time writer’ (at least when kids are at school) I spend far too much time staring into space and eating biscuits and drinking tea.

    • clairehennessy

      Hey Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by, oh wondrous writer lady! 🙂

      I think it’s a tough balance for most people. Tea drinking is utterly crucial for the writing process though. At least that’s what I’ve been telling everyone for years…

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