Help! I don’t have the time


Tick Followed Tock, Followed Tick …

Probably best known for the Guinness ‘White Horses’ advert but the narrator’s voice, deep and foreboding has been whispering in my ear as I struggle to find the time to get any serious writing done. I close my eyes and the crest of the waves is the blank screen in front of me and I hear the voice over of ‘tick followed tock followed tick…’

However, unlike the surfers in the advert, I can’t afford to wait. I need to get on with some writing.

Having taken on a new job just before Christmas my free time to spend writing has reduced dramatically and I have tried to squeeze writing in whenever I can. I’ve started going to bed earlier, which goes against my natural night owl tendencies, but I have done this so I can get up earlier.  I’m now getting up at 5.30, making a quick cup of tea and then switching on the laptop to grab an hour’s writing while everyone else in the house are still asleep and before I have to go to work.

My next bit of free time is my lunch hour where I don’t attempt to write, but use it to catch up on some reading, tweeting and Facebooking.

Then the next time I can get to the laptop is later in the evening once tea and other mum duties are out of the way.

This significantly reduced writing time is certainly making me more focussed when I do write but on the downside, it’s harder to connect with my WIP.

I’m in the middle of writing a novella which has the working title ‘The Beginning of The End’ and I’ve about done the first rough draft.  I now need to go through it, tightening it up before sending it off for proofreading and editing.  At the present time, I’m only releasing it in digital format and I have a cover already prepared by Avalon Graphics. Hopefully I’m still on track to publish mid-March, as long as I continue to make optimum use of my time and keep the voices at bay and have a happy ending just like the Guinness advert, although I may have a glass of wine instead … tick followed tock followed tick …

What are your coping strategies with time?

Have you got any tips for making best use of  writing opportunities?

Sue x

15 thoughts on “Help! I don’t have the time

  1. I have the same problem, juggling the day job and mummy duties. I use the short bursts of free time to jot down ideas, sketch out scenes and fine tune dialogue. I then plan ahead for the month and block out my ‘Writing Days’, on these days my wonderful husband has Daddy and Daughter Days so everyone is happy. I find these really productive and because I’ve already done the prep I can usually clear a high word count – best ever was 5073!

    • Hi Bev

      That sounds like a good idea. I have tried blocking out time, but it’s not always easy.

      5073 is an excellent word count. Well done!


  2. All this sounds very familiar. I write between 9.30 and whatever time I fall asleep. Waking up early would work better for me. I’m a lark, rather than an owl, but unfortunately, so is my oldest (and chattiest) daughter. So the only time I can have peace and quiet is after the kids have gone to bed. I do write in my lunch hour, but only if I know exactly what I’m doing and only for half an hour – so that I can eat my lunch and get away from the desk for a few minutes.

    • Hi Rhoda, I did try and write in my lunch break but the staff room is very busy and the walk to the car park is a bit of a trek, plus there’s not much room in my car.

      Thanks for dropping by. 🙂


  3. I think that you are all amazing to write as well as having work and children to contend with. Not to mention the extraneous activities that goes along with that! I suppose I did it once. Now I am kind of retired and should have more time but somehow it doesn’t seem like that. I must plan more instead of being laid back and thinking the day will present some time. It never seems to. I have two big novels that are way overdue for sending out.

    • Sounds like a blissful day, but I know what you mean, sometimes when you have more time, it’s ends up less productive.

      Good luck with your novels.


  4. First of all, congrats on the job. Jobs are important, so hats off to you for getting organized AND sticking to your writerly goals. I think you totally rock, but you know that! I think you’re achieving amazing things.

    Personally, I couldn’t get up at 5:30 ~ that would be taking suffering for my art to an extreme, plus I don’t function before 7 a.m. Painful and limiting, but there it is. On the other hand, I can quite happily write until 4 a.m.!! The reality is that I write in the morning while the kids are at school. The post-lunch, pre-school-run slot is reserved for blogging, social media, housework, shopping, hairdresser’s appointments and cups of tea with friends. So it’s pretty regimented and the only way to make the schedule work is to stick to it. If something gets knocked off (say, something interferes with the writing in the morning), I just have to plough on with the rest of the schedule and take the hit, otherwise the whole house of cards comes down. Needless to say, I don’t answer the telephone or door in the morning… Lol. Unsociable, or what?

    Good luck with it all and I look forward to reading your novella! XX

    • Hi Nicky

      Not regimented – organised! 🙂 I think I could do with coming to yours for a week of boot camp on how to manage my time better. As for not answering the phone or door … I’d be frightened I was going to miss something!!!


  5. Hi Sue, I think we can all identify with your dilemma. What works for me is this: all my ‘thinking’ about my novel takes place away from the desk. When I have a Eureka moment I scramble back to the writing pad I keep to the left of my keyboard and jot down the bon mot, or whatever. I often wake up with the solution to a plot issue and keep a pen and pad by the bed otherwise I’ll forget what I’d thought of in the first place !! I hold imaginary conversations between my characters in my head while I’m getting on with boring stuff like cooking and housework (groan). So, when I do sit down at the pc I’m actually ready to write, not suck the end of a pencil. Added to the writing I’ve also got into retweeting about my novel on Twitter (time consuming and not sure that it has any effect!) and cut down on my Facebook time. I’ve bought an iPad and do all the Pinterest/twitter/Facebook stuff in the evening when watching TV. I try to fit in at least 2hrs at the pc at whatever time of day I can. Luckily, I no longer work (and don’t have any children to take to gym classes etc) so my time is my own. My husband Bongo Man generally makes dinner for us – I think he’s hoping for a classic Jaguar when I’m rich and famous. I know when I’ve been slogging away at the pc for too long because my parrot shouts out: Ready! Then I have to go and play with him. Good luck with the novella.

    • Hi Lizzie

      Thanks for the sound advice, you seem to have it sorted. I do find myself thinking about my characters a lot. Although the other night I was awake and suddenly a whole new idea for a novel came to me from nowhere, I had to get up and write it down. Must start leaving a notebook by my bed. How nice you get dinner cooked for you, shame you don’t live closer …


  6. To be honest I find the more time I have the more I faff about and the less writing I get done. I’m much better with a deadline,but when you’ve so many demands on your time it’s hard. I tend to work better first thing, and my only New Year’s Resolution was to set the alarm earlier and write for an hour before doing anything else!

    Best of luck 🙂

    • Hi Karen

      I must admit, I have found the more time I have the more I faff 🙂 If I’m honest, I quite like faffing at the time although afterwards I always regret it.

      Thanks for dropping by.


    • Hi Sarah

      You know as well as I do that I have lots of good intentions … LOL!

      You’ll be one of the first to know when I’ve finished the novella.


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