Skip to main content

How Do You Make the Time to Write?

Image placeholder title

Since college, I've held fast to an existential philosophy that goes something like this:

We make time for whatever is important to us. Our actions are the biggest indicators of who we are.

Not surprisingly, when I began working for Writer's Digest, I had little patience for writers who complained about having lack of time. We're all given the same amount of time in a day, and we make choices we must be held accountable for.

Those who don't have time to write:

  • haven't yet made the necessary sacrifices to create time (like giving up TV or sleep)
  • OR: don't yet have the discipline to set aside the time to write
  • AND: may be too afraid to make the time (fear of failing or starting at all)

When attending the Midwest Writers Workshop one year, I met Haven Kimmel's mother, Delonda. It was an otherworldly experience since I knew her first as a character in Kimmel's memoir, A Girl Named Zippy.

At the time, I was not writing a word. I carried guilt over it—I was an editor and publisher of references for writers, yet felt uncomfortable telling anyone I was a writer. Because I really wasn't (despite the degrees and background).

As I was confessing my lack of writerhood, Delonda said, with such grace and empathy, "Why dear, you're exhausted."

It was probably the kindest thing anyone had said to me at that point in my life, and she squeezed my hand as she said it.

I had never looked at it from that perspective before.

Suddenly my own choice came into view—it wasn't a matter of being "good enough" or productive enough or disciplined enough to be a writer. During this period of my life, I focus on Writer's Digest, and I have to acknowledge that, for as long as I do, my energy for other things will be limited.

It's important to acknowledge and fully realize what choices we are making—either in the short-term or long-term—that impact other things we want to achieve. What sacrifices are we making, implicitly or explicitly?

We can't have it all (at least not all at once). We have to choose.

Photo credit: gilderic

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: An Interview with Steven Rowley and Jessica Strawser, 5 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our interview with Steven Rowley and Jessica Strawser, 5 WDU courses, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Everything Agent Websites for Writers 2022

Writer's Digest Best Everything Agent Websites for Writers 2022

Here are the top websites by and about agents as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

Ashley Poston: On Love, Death, and Books

Ashley Poston: On Love, Death, and Books

Author Ashley Poston discusses how she combined her love of ghost stories, romance, and books into her new romance novel, The Dead Romantics.

Choosing Which Movements To Put in Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Choosing Which Movements To Put in Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how much of a fight's details to actually put into a story, and how even with fight scenes sometimes less is more.

5 Research Tips for Writing Historical Fiction, by Piper Huguley

5 Research Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Author Piper Huguley shares her five research tips for writing historical fiction that readers love and writers love as well.

Announcing 40 More Plot Twist Prompts for Writers!

Announcing 40 More Plot Twist Prompts for Writers!

Learn more about 40 Plot Twist Prompts for Writers, Volume 2: ALL NEW Writing Ideas for Taking Your Stories in New Directions, by Writer's Digest Senior Editor Robert Lee Brewer. Discover fun and interesting ways to move your stories from beginning to end.

Interviewing Tips | Tyler Moss

Interviewing 101: Tips for Writers

Interviewing sources for quotes or research will be part of any writer's job. Here are tips to make the process as smooth and productive as possible.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Eliminate Threat

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Eliminate Threat

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character work to eliminate a threat.

4 Tips for Writing Gothic Horror

4 Tips for Writing Gothic Horror

Gothic horror and its many subgenres continues to increase in popularity. Here, author Ava Reid shares 4 tips on writing gothic horror.