When I think of a great writer, I think of someone in a quiet house with a daily ritual that involves writing for hours at a time. When I was a teen I would write from 8-10pm most nights of the week. It was awesome. Is that practical for me anymore? Eh, no.
While this may work for some I suspect a lot of you, like me, are eking out time to get writing done. I have had to readjust my expectations of what “time to write” looks like. For me, it’s often these adorable little 10-15 minutes increments crammed in between the rest of life.
Here are some examples of when you might have writing time and not realize it. (Note: for best results, carry a smartphone with access to your WIP. Try this post if you need software / app recommendations.)
1. Write While Waiting for the Doctor
So, yeah. I recently got to do this while waiting at urgent care. Sprained my ankle.
BUT, on the bright side using crutches counts as research for a main character in the WWII novel I’m writing, and I’ve had lots of forced downtime in which I’ve written more than I have in probably the entire month so far. And the best sentences? The ones with the most flow? Written in the doctor’s office waiting room. I kid you not.
2. Write While in a Long Line
Have you ever been in the line at the Costco food court? At dinner time?
Yeah. You could potentially pump out a chapter or two while waiting in that line, dependent on how fast you are with your thumbs and how many times you have to shuffle forward 12 inches as the line “moves.”
3. Write While Watering Plants
I realize not everyone has plants or lives in a place where they require special attention in the watering department. I live in the desert, so if our trees are going to live we have to fill a big “well” around them with water from a hose. This can take 5-15 minutes and yes, you can sneak in a little writing while keeping an eye on the water level in a tree well.
4. Write While Riding in the Car / Bus
Obviously this only works if you’re the passenger (unless you have mad multi-tasking skills and a dictation program, I suppose). And if you don’t get carsick.
But if you’re able, a bus/train ride, a carpooling moment, or a road trip can be a great time to get some words down. I love bringing my Bluetooth keyboard with me if I know I’ll be sitting in the car for a little while. Makes phone typing so much more efficient if you’re like me and not so great with the thumbs…
5. Write While Waiting for a Family Member
Picking up a kid from school? Sitting in the car with the little ones while Hubby runs through Walmart or pops into the hardware store? We do this a lot since unloading our four little guys to go into a store is quite the production. My husband is super efficient in stores, but not so fast I can’t fit in some good writing.
6. Write While Feeding the Baby
My littlest is 8 months old and he’s pretty efficient at mealtimes. When he was younger I could get probably 25 minutes of phone-typing time while sitting and feeding him. Now we’re down to 15 minutes tops. But some days that’s definitely more writing time than I would get if I wasn’t forced to sit down! If you bottle-feed, you’re going to have to figure out a way to prop that bottle up or do your phone typing one-handed (yay for swipe keyboards!).
7. Write While Watching Cooking Food
There are some meals that just need constant babysitting. I get bored easily, so I’ll often bring my phone and sometimes my trusty Bluetooth keyboard and write in the kitchen. (Just watch for water!)
8. Write Between Classes
College student? If you get any breaks between classes or have downtime before a class starts, you can always fit a little writing in. Unless you need to review something for a test of course…
9. Write While on Hold
Being on hold is just a fabulous thing, isn’t it? Okay, maybe not, but it is forced downtime. Use it to your advantage and write. Just don’t get so involved in your book you forget what you were calling about by the time the agent returns! Also, if you expect to be on hold for a while and you need your phone for writing, you can always put the call on speaker so you’ll know when the agent comes back on the line.
10. Write While Waiting at a Restaurant
Recommended for solo dining only! If you’re there with people… pay attention to them!
11. Write Between Tasks
As you plan out various tasks around the house, see if you can work in a 10-15 interval between one or two. Use it as a change of pace and a chance to get some words down.
12. Write During a Work Break
Do you get the 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks? Those breaks could very well be the key to your writing success! (I personally love writing in 15-minute intervals.)
13. Write While Drinking Coffee
Have you ever timed your coffee-drinking? I suspect it takes me approximately that perfect 10-15 minutes. What a nice length of time to relax… and write!
14. Write During Children’s Naps or Lessons
This is my favorite. Naptime at my house is quiet. (Which is nothing short of miraculous with four little boys.) Unless I have 14 million other things I need to get done in that time slot, I try to use part of it for writing.
Hello, brain! Glad to see you still work, given half a chance!
If you’re parked in a chair at a child’s dance lesson or sports practice, see what you can fit in!
15. Write While Waiting for an Oil / Tire Change
I personally get a headache from the waiting room at the mechanic’s. The tire rubber and grease smells get me every time. If I were to distract myself with writing, though, I’m sure I would be a much more pleasant experience… and I’d have that many more words added to my manuscript!
Where in your day do you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare?
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Perry is a 20-something author with a lot on her plate. She’s wife to Tyler; mom to four little boys, two dogs, one cat, and 12 chickens; and author of five little books. She’s the admin of this site, as well as a freelance book designer and the creator of the WriteMind Planner for authors. She lives in the sunny southwest.
Offers: cover design and the WriteMind Planner at perryelisabethdesign.com