Tried-and-True Approaches for the Time-strapped Writer

The WordSisters have been invited to participate in another blog tour about writing processes, this time by novelist Cynthia Kraack, author of MINNESOTA COLD and the Ashwood Trilogy. She just released the final book in the series, LEAVING ASHWOOD. To learn more about her books and blog, visit

When asked about my writing process, I’m often baffled—writing processes are as individual as the writers in question—will my process really be helpful to others? But many writers struggle with the first step in the writing process—finding time to write, so I’m offering some suggestions.

Never give up

Finding Time to Write Your Blog, Novel, Memoir or Poems

Our creative writing competes with work, family, or household responsibilities. It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “How will I ever get this project finished? If only I had a week/month/year off. And a wealthy patron.” Here are several tried-and-true approaches for the time-strapped writer:

  • Every day, set a timer and write for 20 minutes. When I heard about this method, I was skeptical—20 minutes doesn’t sound like enough time to do anything substantial! But Jill, a member of my nonfiction writers’ group (and the person who gave WordSisters our name), takes this approach and drafted a novel over the course of a year—20 minutes at a time. Even if you skip a day, the writing time adds up to 2 hours per week.
  • Set aside 2 hours every week for writing. I wrote the first draft of my memoir in 2-hour hunks every Saturday over the course of a year. For my blogs, I usually allow 2-3 hours within a two-week span. I draft a blog in one sitting and revise it another time or two after that. Oh yeah, because my writing time is so precious, I’ve learned to turn off my email and cell phone while I’m writing—amazing how much more I get done without any distractions. The world can wait!
  • Write while traveling. I recently connected with Dan von der Embse, a poet who frequently travels and uses his inflight time to write.

What’s common to all of these approaches is that although the available time is limited, each writer is committed to writing and has created a significant body of work by using the time she or he did have.

Eliza Waters blends writing with exquisite nature photography, and her blog is the next stop on this tour. Through her words and photos, she offers readers a breath of fresh air as well as insightful commentary. Be sure to check out her blog!

Finding Time to Promote Your Blog

While I’ve acquired the discipline to blog faithfully, I regularly wimp out when it comes to systematically attracting new readers to the blog. I’m uncertain about what to do so I avoid doing anything. Great strategy, huh?

Please share your wisdom! What has helped YOU find (or grow) your audience?