Finding time to write: 3 strategies to use 30 minutes at a time (2023)

“How do I find time to write?” It's a question I hear all the time from writers and wannabe writers.

I'll admit... finding time to write has been one of my main struggles in the writing business.autonomousand writing for publication involves much more than actual writing. I have to make time to do interviews, talk to clients, answer emails, post on social media, create graphic images for my content, keep financial records, organize my files, deal with interruptions and crises that pop up here and there. …and that doesn't include the millions of other daily non-typing tasks that are a part of life.

Everything is good. It has to be done. And it fills in the hours and days very easily and cuts down on my writing time.

But over the years I've learned an important truth: finding time to write has very little to do with finding time.

It's all about knowing how to use the writing time I already have.

I have a little time to write but I get confused

There's a common problem when writers sit down at the keyboard:we don't have a system or process. To me, this problem looks like a mess. I get confused about where to start writing. I didn't know where to start or what to do.

What was the idea I had yesterday? Should I try to retrieve that thought now? Maybe you should come up with a different idea, or maybe you should do more research. Or maybe I should try to come up with another idea since the first one isn't going anywhere. What if I only write a page or two... is it a waste of time?

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Things changed when I learned that writing is a bundle of three different activities.

Choose a writing assignment

Jeff GoinsWriterhelped me figure it out. He explains that writing boils down to three unique types of tasks. Jeff puts each of these three writing assignments intoone of the "Three Buckets".

He sets aside time to write every day, and when he sits down to write, Jeff spends his time on one of these tasks (cubes). The three cubes eliminate a lot of clutter.

Jeff's three buckets are...

  1. Ideas
  2. scribblers
  3. editions

I used his approach as a starting point and adopted it for my own writing time. I give myself one of these tasks. When I sit down to write, I have a clear idea of ​​what task I am going to accomplish with that little bit of writing time, no matter how long or short that time is.

Task 1: Idea Processing

I don't use writing time to come up with ideas.Ideas come at any timeand often at inconvenient times, like when I'm in line at the supermarket.

Instead, I use my writing time not to get ideas, but to develop them. Maybe I need to get facts and figures to support a thesis. Maybe I need to interview an expert or user. Maybe I need to do some basic background. When researching, I discover that my idea is synthesized. I have ideas all the time, but I process them when I sit down to write.

That's why for me this bucket is called"Idea Processing".

On a side note, if you struggle withcapturing ideas, find a tool that will help you not waste time writing chasing your thoughts. I likeEvernote, a free app for taking notes and organizing ideas. (I use the free version, but you can upgrade to the premium and commercial versions if you need more features.) You can sync Evernote between your phone, laptop, desktop, and tablet. Some writers compose content in Evernote and then publish it directly to their blog or website. There are many other ways tocapture and organize your ideas, described in this post.

Task 2: Draw a part

This is where I get my ideas, source material and notes andput them in a scheme, one that is appropriate for a specific project(an article or a chapter of a book, for example). Then I develop the outline one section at a time.

Of course, there are some of you good people who seem to be able to write an article without an outline or even a simple mental outline of what they are going to say. Yes, we are all jealous.

For me, one of the keys to having a productive "Write a Draft" session is to force myself to write without self-editing. My goal is to get the content out of my head and into my notes.something like a structure.

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I often write a draft and find that I need more information to fill in the blanks. So do just that: leave some blanks to fill in. I revert to my "Thought Processing and Research" mode during a different writing session. For this session, I will continue writing my draft.

Task 3: Content Editing

As soon as I have a draft thenCamp in edit modeIt's rare to end up with a project in two, three, four or even five revisions. I rework until the content expresses my idea clearly and is easy to read.

I include the post in this bucket. This could mean posting the content on my website or sending a completed draft to a client.

Two more tips for finding time to write

These days, when I sit down to write, I'm not as confused as I used to be. I have a good idea of ​​where I'll be in the ongoing writing process, whether that's processing an idea, writing a draft, or editing content.

These two additional tips can help you manage your writing time.

  • Tip 1:Develop the habit of writing by scheduling a time each day to write. If you're just starting out, you don't need hours. In fact, thirty minutes a day adds up to 3.5 hours a week. (That's about as long as a sitcom show. You can do without that 30-minute break in your day, right?) The key is to make writing a part of your daily life.
  • Tip 2:Choose one of three tasks., depending on where you are with a writing project. Stay with this task for thirty minutes.

You will be less confused. You will know what to do with the time you have. And you will write a lot more content.

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