Finding Time to Write

A Top-Tier Procrastinator’s Guide to Finding the Time to Write Your Book

Before we start this, there’s something I need to confess. Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m a procrastinator. Much to the annoyance of my long-suffering partner Danny, who likes to joke that I could do twice as much work in a month if I’d just get on with it, I tend to procrastinate more than I probably should. I’d also like to point out that I also run my own business (a writing and editing service called Sarah Jules Writing Services, which you already knew) and I manage that perfectly well (I can hear Danny laughing as he reads that, but it’s true, ignore him).

A bit of background, because you all know I like to set the scene…

I work from my home office, which is what should be the dining room in our house, but the dining room is in the conservatory. Anyway, as such, I’m constantly surrounded by things I should be doing. Those of you who work from home know that the distractions are real. When I’m feeling particularly procrastinatey, I tend to go and do a load of washing or hoover up, you know how it is. Once that’s done, I get back to work and everything gets completed. I NEVER miss deadlines, ever. Never have. I think that proves that my procrastination issue is under control when it comes to my work.

My procrastination is not under control when it comes to writing my own books.

I sit at my desk all day, for five days a week (give or take) staring at my laptop screen while I write books for other people, or edit books for other people, or write… you get the idea. By the time I’m done with my actual work, which I have to do because we all need money, the last thing I want to do is sit and write my own book. I get that I’m in a privileged position. I’m self-employed, I work from home, and I love my job. My job just happens to be writing books (or editing them) and when you’ve done a full day of it, sitting down to work on your own can feel like a chore. The same goes for my days off. I’ve sat in front of a computer screen for five days, do I really want to spend my time off doing the same thing?

It’s because of these factors that it took me about two years to write my first book (FOUND YOU), when I complete books for clients that are around the same length in 2-4 months, depending on the topic.

And here we come to the question of the blog post, finally… How on earth do you find the time to write?

We’re all busy. We all have things in our lives that have to be a priority – whether that be family, our ‘real’ job, or whatever else consumes your time. Finding the window of time that works for you, where you can get some (hopefully quality) words on a page, can feel like an impossible task. Know that you’re not alone.

As I was struggling, I turned to the internet to try and find what worked for other people, and see if by the grace of god, they worked for me. My first port of call was to ask in one of the self-publishing Facebook groups that I am a part of to see if fellow indie authors had any advice, and boy did they deliver. I won’t waste your time with loads of little suggestions that may or may not work for you. Allow me to lay down the game changers…


Easier said than done, right? But the fantastic thing about these three steps is that you can make it work for you. It’s all about finding what works and sticking with it. What works for me, I hear you ask.

I’m currently 20k words into my next book (DON’T LIE). My favourite thing about this book is that it has short, snappy chapters (approx. 1000 words) so this gives me a good target to aim for each day. Remember, you can’t edit an empty page and as Terry Pratchett once wisely said, the first draft is just you telling yourself the story, so just write. It might be shit, but at least it will be down on paper and you can fix it later.

I try to get my one chapter out of the way before I start working. You see, I know myself well enough that I am 100% sure I will complete whatever work I need to do that day, irrespective of what time I finish. However, if it gets to 6 pm and I’ve finished working, the chances of me writing a chapter of my own book are slim to none.

Another thing that works for me is a countdown or reward chart type thing. I used to do this back in university when I had a shit teaching placement. I’d draw a chart of the days I had to spend on that placement and cross them off as they went. In hindsight, that should have probably told me teaching wasn’t for me. So, with DON’T LIE, I already have the whole plot planned out. I know a lot of people don’t work like this, but this is what works for me. As such, I know exactly how many chapters there will be, and so I made a countdown. Each time I finish writing a chapter, I cross it off on the chart. It’s a really great way to see and monitor progress.

Do you know what else I do?

I leave my phone upstairs. Absolute game changer.

Of course, sometimes life gets in the way and I might not get my chapter done, that’s okay. As long as I manage to write a chapter most days, I’m still moving in the right direction. It all adds up. Whether you can only fit in five minutes a day, or you only have time at the weekend, it doesn’t matter. You have to make it work for you. Anything is better than nothing and for every five minutes of time you spend writing, you’re a step closer to a finished manuscript. What works for you? How do you find the time to put the metaphorical pen to paper?



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