Monday, November 25, 2013

Guest Post: Cheyanne Young: How to Make Time for Writing When There's No Time for Writing

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:  If you haven't been paying attention to this year's Flash Fiction Fest, you should finally be able to read the first of my 7 flash fiction stories in the Mortal Sins series, even though it's listed under Neil Vogler's name.  (Welcome to the humiliating world of professional writing.)  In case you don't remember, the stories involve a bank security guard who becomes a mortal enemy of the Scarlet Knight.  Of course you can also buy the whole collection for 99 cents from Amazon.

And now here's a guest post from Cheyanne Young, author of the excellent YA superhero novel Powered.

How to Make Time for Writing When There's No Time for Writing
By Cheyanne Young, author of Powered

As much as I'd love to live the life of a full time writer who can lounge in pajamas all day, drinking coffee and producing an endless line of beautifully written novels, I unfortunately still need a day job. I'm also a mother and wife and have one energetic puppy that loves attention. (At least I still get to drink coffee all day) Finding time to pursue my passion of writing is challenging, but I live by one motto that I also use to motivate me to exercise:

One hour is only 4% of your day.

What can you accomplish by writing for just one hour? For me it's about 1000 words. I haven't always been able to reach this goal in an hour but I've found that nothing improves my writing abilities better than writing. (Who knew?) If you have a busy life like mine, it may be difficult to find an hour a day to write, but here are some tricks that will help you squeeze in more writing time each day:

  • Carry a notebook with you. (Or alternatively, a netbook/tablet if you have one) Now you can write during unexpected down time like while waiting at the doctor's office, or while on hold with the cable company. Are you bored at your child's sports practice/dance class? Write! 
  • Ask yourself this: Do I really need to watch TV right now? I think the biggest time suck for many people is the television. I hate realizing I've just wasted hours of my life watching reruns of some show I've already seen. Turn off the TV and get to writing. Plus if you DVR your favorite shows, you can skip the commercials later.
  • Learn to eat fast. If you get an hour lunch break at work, eat your food quickly and then use the rest of the time for writing. Half of my novels are written on my lunch breaks.
  • Organize your life. If your house is free of clutter then you can't waste twenty minutes looking for your kid's jacket before you leave the house. That's an extra twenty minutes you can spend writing. An organized life means there is always more time for writing. 
  • Wake up an hour earlier than usual. Just kidding. Don't do this. I would never do this. I love sleep too much.
Thanks Cheyanne!  Go out and buy a copy of Powered on Amazon or wherever starting November 28th!  And you can enter to win a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift card below:


  1. Comment so you can enter to win a Kindle!

  2. I will say this: if you are watching television that doesn't help you in your writing, then you're watching the wrong television. This is not an either/or.

  3. Do I win the Kindle?

    Those are good tips. Scott Turow, I read, wrote "Presumed Innocent" while commuting on the El in Chicago to and from his job. I myself try to do something each morning from about 6-7, but don't do much outside of that.

    We USED TO have to go sit and wait while Middle Daughter would practice gymnastics. I wish I'd had a laptop then.

    Another thing I do is when I'm on a long drive, I will sometimes dictate stories into a notepad app on my phone; I can then email the stories to myself later and correct up a rough draft.

  4. I'm too easily distracted by things to have the tv on, and do something else.
    Heck it took me 10min to type this comment...stupid phone keeps going off.

  5. That's great advice for managing your time as a writer.

  6. I don't have TV, so that's not an issue. Not having TV is kind of awesome except when it means missing Dr Who.

  7. When I was a professional illustrator I could paint or have music on when I worked, but I can't think to write if there are any distractions. Maybe I have a weak mind.

  8. TV is something that I tend to use it fits and starts. Generally, it happens to be things that the whole family wants to do, so we watch things in the evenings for family time. It's usually just about two nights a week, but I'm always antsy and nervous while I watch, like I should be writing... or would rather be reading.

    Still, it's not a bad life when my biggest complaints are around the ways in which I entertain myself.

  9. Good guest post Pat. That really puts it in perspective Cheyanne. 4% of the day doesn't sound like much when you break it down.

  10. Nice guest post.

    Thanks for participating.



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