How Do Authors Find the Time to Write

Author Tips: Finding the Time to Write by Kim Foster

 

It’s no secret: I am DYING to write a novel. The words are nearly bursting out of me. In fact, I’ve got 20,000 words done. But I just never seem to have the TIME. So I asked my friend (and published author, physician, Mom, and etc.) Kim Foster, to share with us how she gets it all done. Give a warm welcome to Kim as she writes about, well…

 

….Finding the Time to Write. 

 

It’s one of the biggest conundrums facing an aspiring author: when do you find the time to write? It’s hard to justify time away from more responsible and lucrative pursuits—like your day job, for example—to do this non-paying thing. Except…it will never become a paying thing unless you devote time to it.

 

Finding the time to write has been an enormous challenge for me for many years. Now that I’m published, people frequently ask me how I fit it all in. Here are my thoughts.

 

Step one: Get over the frustration.

 

You will only be able to move forward productively and creatively once you accept that it is what it is. I confess this was tough for me in the past. But I eventually realized: lamenting about not having enough writing time is a huge waste of energy. Accept it mindfully, and then move on.

 

Step two: Take stock of your time.

 

Most of us are surprisingly inaccurate when reflecting back on our use of time. The only reliable way of knowing exactly how you spend your day is to sit down and account for every single hour, every day, for a week (or two). We’re all “busy”, but most people are amazed when they discover how much lost and wasted time is actually hidden within their day.

 

It may feel like a big hassle to do a time log or spreadsheet, but if you can invest the effort, it’s an amazingly helpful tool. As a starting point, Laura Vanderkam, the author of 168 Hours, has some excellent advice.

 

Step three: Clarify your priorities.

 

Let’s face it—you’re just not going to have enough time for everything. You will have to sacrifice some things. For me, it’s TV. And cleaning up around my house. But here’s how I look at it: would I rather have a messy house and a book with my name on it, or a pin-tidy house and no book? The answer is easy for me.

 

Another example: I love to cook. And before I had kids and a book contract, I loved buying cookbooks and making all the elaborate dishes I found in them. Now? It’s spaghetti, tacos, chicken stir fry. I know I’ll get that time back someday…that day is just not today.

 

Once you can see exactly how you’re spending your time (see Step Two) you’ll be able to take a hard look at the stuff you can edit out of your schedule.

 

Step four: Make a plan.

 

Choose a time for your writing (based on the above) and make a commitment to yourself to stick to it! Where to find that time? Here are some ideas:

 

  • evening, after your kids go to bed
  • naptime
  • weekends
  • first thing in the morning, before everyone else is awake

 

I have tried all of these myself, at various times. For the past couple of years, the one that works best for me is early morning. I do the bulk of my writing between 5 – 7 am.

 

The trick here is once you’ve selected your time block, you need to protect that time like a badger. Life (and perfectly well-intentioned people) will constantly seek to siderail your intentions, and because your writing time is not “official” work time, it’s easy to let it slide.

 

If none of these time slots will work for you, consider squeezing your writing into 15 minute chunks. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but 15 minutes is more than zero minutes. And the cumulative effect is powerful. If you’re considering this strategy, try reading this book: Pen On Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide To Igniting The Writer Within.

 

If you’re truly committed to writing—and let’s face it, sometimes it requires prescription strength determination—you’ll find a way to fit it in to your life.

 

Happy writing!

 

Kim Foster

July 17, 2014

 

A Magnificent Crime by Kim Foster

 

A Magnificent Crime (Agency of Burglary & Theft #2)

 

Everyone has a talent. Some are just more legal than others.

 

Cat Montgomery is a natural-born thief with a special gift for stealth—or at least she thought so. Years ago, she stole from the diamond-hoarding businessman Albert Faulkner III. Now he wants revenge, and he forces Cat to plan a heist of the infamous Hope Diamond while it’s on loan to the Louvre in Paris. If she fails the mission, he’ll wreak bloody havoc on her loved ones. But the stakes are raised even higher when Cat discovers that stealing the Hope is not only an impossible task, it’s a cursed one. . .

Meanwhile, Cat’s boyfriend, FBI agent Jack Barlow, is tracking a fierce criminal known as the Gargoyle, running into Interpol and resistance among his agency. As he follows the trail to Paris, where Cat is, their missions entwine in ways neither of them would have suspected. . .

 

About the author: 

Kim Foster is the author of the Agency of Burglary & Theft Series, a series of novels about a professional female jewel thief. Kim has a typical background for someone who writes thrillers about thieves and spies and criminals: she has a degree in medicine and is a practising family doctor. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t make much sense to her friends and family, either.)

 

She’s addicted to yoga, loves to travel, and has a clinical weakness for dark chocolate with sea salt. Online, you can find her blogging about her left-brain, right-brain mash-up on www.kimfoster.com. Kim lives with her husband and their two young sons in Victoria, BC, where she’s hard at work on her next book. And drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee.

 

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