From Sarah, With Joy

Writer of all things kid lit.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Guest Post: How To Find Time To Write, by Rochelle Melander

Stephen King writes every day. A colleague of mine only writes when she has a book due. Most of the writers I coach wonder how they could ever write a book when they cannot dedicate all day, every day to their work. Writers, we need to think outside the box. There are plenty of ways to fit in writing time—if we get creative. Here are four ways you can honor your inner writer and keep a full-time job!

1. Take 20. Anthony Trollope was able write for three hours a day before going to work at the post office, but chances are he didn’t have to do his hair or make a lunch. Author Cory Doctorow has said that he spends 20 minutes a day on writing his novels—and that’s enough to finish writing a novel a year. All of us can find twenty minutes to dedicate to our work. Get up a bit early, go to bed later, or skip lunch—and use that time to write.
2. The Saturday (or Sunday) Writer. I’ve heard that the National Novel Writing participants who cannot write every day put in a big old marathon day each weekend. For writers who need time to get into the mood to write and hate quitting once they get there, taking a day each weekend to write sounds like a sensible thing to do. Pick up your computer, head off to a coffee shop, and write until your fingers get numb!

3 The Weekend Writer. A client of mine has written several of her fiction books on the weekend at hotels. She works full time and also has children, so taking a day a week to write is impossible. Instead, she books a hotel for one weekend a month through one of many available discount web sites. She enters the weekend with a chapter or word count goal and locks herself in the hotel until she finishes. (She does escape for food and exercise during the weekend.)

4. The Vacation Writer. Every summer, a writing friend takes a week of his vacation to participate in a writing workshop at one of the many writing programs in the United States. Other friends have given themselves a week at a remote cabin or friend’s empty house to work on their books. Wherever you end up staying, taking a vacation to write can be the perfect way both write and have a life.

Writers, there is no ideal or correct way to make a writing life. Do what works for you!

Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast:Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online at


  1. Oooh, a writing vacation sounds like so much fun! And I love the 20 minutes a day idea--we can all do that, right? Great tips!

  2. That's really interesting how different writers work in the time. I'm more of a twenty minute writer myself.

  3. Thanks for these tips, when you think about it like that it doesn't feel as overwhelming. I'm kind of digging the one weekend a month thing.

  4. I'm definitely a 20 minute writer. Although a writing vacation sounds lovely.

    Great post!

  5. GREAT post! I meet so many writing students who claim they don't have the time to write. Bookmarking this as a future resource.

    Thank you!

  6. So far I have been blaming my erratic writing schedule on lack of inspiration. I could spend months without writing a single word. Then spend several weeks writing like my life depended on it. But now I know its just lack of discipline. Three hours each morning sounds like an ideal solution, but I still believe in writing whenever you can, even if it means making sacrifices.

  7. Sometimes I think it was easier to find writing time when I didn't have so much time. Being under the clock is a great motivator.

  8. THis is a great post! I usually try to find time in the evenings, really late, after dinner and wine (weird that I can write after wine), and that works great for me. This week I haven't been able to - I had a deadline for a writing/blogging gig that I am late for, I was off two days of work, and then my own blog I am scrambling to keep up with, so writing at night hasn't been possible.

    But, next week I'm hoping to be back!

    Great post!

  9. Validating post. I try to write at least an hour a night during the work week, and then lose myself in 4+ hour writathons on the weekends and time off. Bliss.

  10. I try to write a weekly word count, that way I don't fret too much if I miss a day.


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